After almost seven years of litigation, the Accra High Court has rejected the GH800,000 case brought by the former Intercity STC Coaches Limited director of finance, Nuhu I. Jansbaka, against The Herald and two other parties.
The Managing Editor of The Herald and the publication’s publishers, Prime Mark Company Limited, were criticised by Justice Audrey Kocuvie-Tay in her ruling, which rejected accusations of malice.
She emphasised the necessity for those in trusted positions to be ready for more scrutiny and said, “It is high time that persons occupying public positions are held to stricter standards.”
David Annan of Nii Odoi Annan & Co, Asere Chambers led the team of solicitors who were representing The Herald, and they decided not to pursue costs against Mr Jansbaka.
When Mr. Jansbaka served as Head of Finance and Administration at STC Coaches Limited between 2012 and 2013, he was subject to harsh criticism, which led to the development of the case against him. His coworkers charged him with conflict of interest and using the workers’ pension money for personal gain. He was stopped and then the subject of committee inquiries as a result of a number of petitions and protests that were organised against him.
The committees discovered negative conclusions, remarks, and recommendations against Mr. Jansbaka, including confirmation that he had paid himself GH13,019.67 from the workers’ provident fund. Furthermore, he was paid unauthorised extra duty payments as well as exorbitant travel expenses.
Despite the unfavourable conclusions, Mr. Jansbaka was reinstated and then filed a lawsuit, alleging slander and asking for GH$200,000 apiece, against The Herald, its publishers, and two union officials, Samuel Korle Clotey and Hope Kofi Klu.
But according to Justice Kocuvie-Tay’s decision, Mr. Jansbaka was unable to prove a relationship between Mr. Korle Clotey, Mr. Klu, Larry Dogbey (the publisher), and Prime Mark Ghana Limited (the publisher) about the publishing of the defamatory allegations. She emphasised the need for solid proof to back up a party’s claim.
In addition, Justice Kocuvie-Tay stated that despite being harsh, the usage of the phrase “chop chop” in The Herald’s publications constituted fair commentary and did not reveal malice. She came to the conclusion that the plaintiff’s defamation claims against the first and second defendants lacked adequate proof, but she recognised a legitimate defamation claim against the third and fourth defendants.