General News of Wednesday, 23 July 2003
An Accra High court presided over by Justice Yaw Appau has granted an application for interlocutory judgment in default of appearance by Egbert Faibille, managing editor of The Independent newspaper filed by Eddie Annan, a businessman.
The court however referred the suit to the registrar for him to place it before a substantive Fast Track Court judge for the assessment of damages. An affidavit in support of the application, which was filed on behalf of Mr. Annan by his counsel Tony Lithur and company, stated that a writ of summons issued on May 29, this year to Mr. Faibille, the defendant, sought the reliefs endorsed to him. It said the defendant however failed, neglected or refused to appear or file a defence even though the time limit for him to enter appearance had expired.
According to the application, the defendant had no defence to the plaintiff?s claim and prayed the court to enter interlocutory judgment in favour of the plaintiff, and further asked the court to fix an early date for the plaintiff to assess the damages suffered as a result of the defendant?s publication.
On May 27, this year The Independent carried a story headlined ?Recent rumpus at GPHA, Top NDC Man Exposed Over US$60 million contract?, in which the paper accused Mr. Annan of impropriety in the award of a contract for extension works on Quay Two of the Tema port.
Counsel for the plaintiff argued that the defendant repeated the accusations at Radio Gold an Accra-based FM station in an interview. In a statement of claim Mr. Annan said, the publication contained a lot of innuendoes to the extent that the plaintiff had done something sinister and fraudulent which had to be revealed to the public.
The statement said the publication also implied that under the administration of the NDC, Mr. Annan illegally, cynically and opportunistically participated in and profited from the corruption and theft of wealth of Ghana.
As a result, the plaintiff is seen as an unethical and unscrupulous businessman who took advantage of a conflict of interest situation to his benefit, without due regard to good business practices.
The statement contended that Mr. Annan is described as a bad loser and disgruntled by the loss of the contract by his preferred contractor, China Harbour Engineering Limited, and that in relation to this particular transaction, he (Mr. Annan) was unscrupulous and resorted to tarnishing another person?s image just to get back at him for not choosing a contractor of his choice.
The Chronicle, the newspaper that broke the story was not left out in the innuendoes, the claim stated.