Ghana: Ayorkor Botchwey Sues Editor of Herald Newspaper for Defamation

THE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has sued Larry Dodge, the Editor of Herald newspaper, a private print media organisation, demanding GH¢10 million compensation for defamation.

The paper carried a front page story on June 10, 2019, captioned "Judge Releases Minister's Notorious Boy From Jail", a publication the minister described as a calculated attempt to injure her hard won reputation.

In a suit filed by her counsel, Gary Nimako Marfo, the minister urged the court to order the newspaper to retract the defamatory publication, and render an unqualified apology to her.

She said Mr Dogbe and Prime Mark Company Limited, the second defendant, stated in the publication that "Mr Wala, who goes by the nickname, "Namadina", is believed to have pulled a fast one on the judge."

It continued that "unconfirmed reports on the lips of his close associates, as well as his victims are that he committed the illegality with the help of his political godmother, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey".

The minister said the defamatory story suggested that she had engaged in illegal activities or abetted the commission of crime against the state.

Mrs Botchwey, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Anya Sowutuom, said the story meant that she used her political influence to order the release of a convicted criminal, who was serving a lawful prison sentence in jail.

The plaintiff said the publication was carefully calculated to tarnish her image.

She asked the court to hold that the defamatory statements were made without any just cause and were intended to cause her public ridicule, disaffection and to reduce her image in the eyes of right thinking members of society.

Mrs Botchwey urged the court to hold that by the said publication, her reputation had been battered by the defendants in the public space, including social media, an act which had seriously affected her credibility as esteemed politician and public figure.

The plaintiff said in her many years in public life as a politician, no court had convicted her of any crime in Ghana or in any other jurisdiction.

She, therefore, urged the court to declare that that the defendants' newspaper and online publication is defamatory of the plaintiff.

Mrs Botchwey asked for an order of injunction directed at the defendants, agents, assigns and privies from continuing to make any further defamatory publication about her.

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