At the time the “Save the Ghana Palaver Fund” campaign was being launched at a Press Conference in Accra, last Friday, bailiffs were posting “action” notices at the residence of the paper's Managing Editor, Mr Joojo Bruce-Quansah at Amanfrom, Kasoa.
The order signed by the Deputy Sheriffs Office of High Court, read: “Notice is hereby given that in pursuance of a Decree of the said court (High Court), bearing date of April, 2004, in the above suit (between George Addo-Kufuor, Plaintiff, and Joojo Bruce-Quansah, defendant), the property of the defendant having been seized in execution, under writ of dated on the 27th day of October, 2005, will be sold by public auction on the 25th day of Nocember, 2005, at 11 o'clock am, unless the said decree shall be sooner ratified to writ:
Unnumbered house, situated at Ngleshie, Amanfrom, Kasoa, Accra. Earlier in the week, five bailiffs, accompanied by two armed policemen, had invaded the house, as early at 3.00am and taken away some of the editor's belongings, obviously to be placed harder the auctioneer's gavel.
The move is to auction the Managing Editor's personal belongings and for the proceeds to be used in settling an amount of ¢440 million, being damages awarded to Mr George Kufuor, brother of President J.A. Kufuor, in a case against the 'Ghana Palaver' and its Managing Editor.
In that case, Mr George Kufuor had claimed the damages against the paper and Mr Bruce Quansah, for including his name in the list of directors of a transport company, Easy Link, at a time, when he claimed he was not.
A week before the “invasion', of the bailiffs, a “mystery” burglary had taken place in the house, during which Mr Bruce-Quansah's mobile phone, two and television sets and other minor items had been taken away.
Launching the appeal to “Save the Ghana Palaver Fund” last Friday, Mr Bruce-Quansah wondered whether any newspaper in Ghana is in a position to pay the heavy fines, described as damages imposed on the “Palaver”, all within a short period, with the cases lined up in one court, presided over by one judge, Mr Justice Acquah, who unfortunately is now deceased. He therefore, appealed to all Ghanaians and organizations who cherish democracy and press freedom to freely contribute to the Fund, in the fight to defend the Truth.
In all, the 'Ghana Palaver' is faced with a total debt of about ¢2 billion, in court damages. Addressed the press, at the International Press Centre, Mr Bruce-Quansah said:
“The 'Ghana Palaver' is in distress. It has a hang-man's noose around its neck, set on the road to its 'Calvary'.
And the reason?
The newspaper had dared to 'offend' Mr George Kufuor, the brother of President J.A. Kufuor, the brother of President J.A. Kufuor, by citing him as a member of the board of directors of a transport company, the Easy Link, whose arrival of its fleet of buses, turned the law on the right-hand drive, upside down.
It will be recalled that the law was passed in 1974 when Ghana adopted the right hand drive, in conformity with what was becoming a universal road traffic system, which banned the importation of right-hand driven vehicles.
Since the law made sense as a safety measure, Ghanaians, as a whole, had no cause to oppose it. However, on the assumption of power by the Kufuor regime, a fleet of right-hand drive buses were brought into the country, in contravention of the law.