Lawyers for the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, have asked the Accra High Court to set aside an amended statement of claim filed against him in a GH¢15 million defamatory suit.
They contended that the plaintiff, Professor Dua Agyeman, former Chairman of the Audit Service Council, failed to adhere to the procedure of court in his amended statement of claim.
The NDC General Secretary was sued by Prof Agyeman in 2018, for making defamatory statements in Akan (Twi) language against him (plaintiff) on radio.
The court presided by Mrs Sophia Bernasco-Essah asked Mr Nketia to file his defence, but his lawyers stated that they would respond to the suit if the exact words used by their client were reproduced verbatim in Twi.
On January 23, the court ordered lawyer for Prof Agyeman, Gary Nimako Marfo, to amend his pleadings.
However, Mr Johnson Nomersinu, who held brief for Samuel Codjoe, lawyer for Mr Nketia, argued that there were procedural errors in the plaintiff’s amended statement.
He contended that the court had jurisdiction to set aside an incompetent application.
Counsel told the court the amended statement filed by plaintiff on January 30, 2019, was in defiance of the orders of the court, which asked for a reproduction of the defamatory words in the language it was allegedly spoken, adding that the GH¢15 million in the initial pleadings was amended to GH¢20 million.
Opposing the motion, counsel for Prof Agyema, Garry Nimako Marfo, reminded the court that Mr Nketia failed to file his defence, and said conduct of defendant amounted to an attempt to obstruct justice.
For the court to set aside the writ, counsel stated that the defendant ought to come under Order 11 Rule 18 of Constitutional Instrument (CI) 47.
According to the plaintiff, the defendant on October 2, 2018, made some unsubstantiated and disparaging statements on an Accra-based radio station, Neat FM, accusing him of producing fake accounts in 1983 while he was at the Audit Service.
The plaintiff prayed the court to declare that the defendant’s publication on Neat FM that he was banned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana for producing fake audited accounts for a non-existent company is slanderous and defamatory of him and same was made without any reasonable, just or probable cause.
The case has been adjourned to March 19 for ruling.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA