Cape Coast High Court slaps National Tribute with GH₵2.3m damages for UCC VC defamation 

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah and the Director of Physical Development and Estate Management, Mr Philip Ntim Owusu have won a defamatory suit against the National Tribute Newspaper.

A Cape Coast High Court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Lodoh on Monday, June 29, 2020, awarded damages of GH₵1.5million in favour of the Vice-Chancellor and GH₵800,000 in favour of the Director of Physical Development and Estate Management. A cost of GHc20,000 was also awarded to each plaintiff.

A press release by the UCC said the newspaper had made two publications about its Vice-Chancellor in its June 21, 2018, and July 12, 2018 editions.

The publications were titled “UCC VC, Others Hot Over dubious deals as BNI starts investigation” and “VC and others in more troubles”.

The stories alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had been involved in wrongdoing in the award of ICT related contracts and appointment of staff of the University.

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The paper also alleged that the appointment of the Director of Development was not based on merit.

A suit was later brought against the National Tribute Newspaper, its Managing Editor; Mr John Ackaah Alulbah, publisher; Angenubibi Media Next Work Company Ltd, Editor; Douglas Owusu and its News Editor; Mr Francis Arthur for defamation.

The Counsel for the defendant, Chris Ackumey in his statement of defence stated that the Defendants had in an earlier proceeding before the National Media Commission offered an apology and retraction and as such, any judgment of the Court will constitute double jeopardy.

However, the Counsel for plaintiffs, Solomon Faakye, however, impressed upon the Court that the apology should be ignored because the defamatory statement was actuated by malice.