Chronicle apologises to Ghana's UK High Commissioner
The Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper has apologised to Ghana's High Commissioner to UK for the story it carried in the 24 June 2005 edition of the paper accusing him of stealing two cheques belonging to one Chancellor Oppong Kyekyeku Kohl, a Ghanaian graduate of the University of London,
The Chronicle said the statements made by Chancellor Kohl, which it published were not only erroneous but also wholly unfounded and expressed its regret to the High
Commissioner, and sincerely apologise to him for any embarrassment, humiliation, and inconvenience, which the publication might have caused him. It said the allegations are unreservedly retracted.
Publishers of the Ghanaian Chronicle also agreed to settle in full legal fees incurred by the High Commissioner, as well as pay an undisclosed sum of money to a charity of his choice.
These form part of an out of court settlement of a lawsuit brought against publishers of The Ghanaian Chronicle, General Portfolio Ltd and two of its editors, by Mr Osei.
The paper had alleged that His Excellency Isaac Osei had stolen the two cheques covering a total of £254,000 being compensation from the Senate House of the University of London and the Home Office.
In addition, the High Commissioner was accused of intercepting a 1st class LLB certificate purportedly issued to Chancellor Kohl.
The Chronicle reported that Kohl had petitioned the President to intervene and cause a thorough investigation to establish the truth or otherwise of the allegation and ensure that the contents of the said parcel were handed over to him without any further hindrance and frustration. The paper had written that Kohl needed the certificate to train as a barrister. Mr Osei vehemently denied all the allegations. In a letter dated 27 June 2005, to The Chronicle, Lexcom Associates, lawyers of Mr. Osei, stated that their client "emphatically and categorically denies having ever received any money whatsoever for and on behalf of Mr. Oppong Kyekyeku Chancellor Kohl and his LL.B certificate."
Despite this letter, the Chronicle continued to publish details of a document it claimed were part of the story that confirms the foregoing assertion, saying that Chancellor Kohl still accuses Ghana's High Commissioner at 13 Belgrave Square in London of stealing his LLB certificate in law and two cheques, received as compensation for wrongful remand (remand No. JM6720) for five months from October 30, 2002 to March 29, 2003."
Subsequently, the High Commissioner sued the publisher of The Ghanaian Chronicle and two of its editors, Kojo Omaboe, the Acting Editor, 2nd defendant and Sebastian R. Freiku, Ashanti Region editor, third defendant.
The writ issued by the High Court on 19 July 2005 gave up to Wednesday 27 July 2005 for the publishers of The Ghanaian Chronicle to enter an appearance or have judgement given.
Lexcom Associates in their statement of claim said, His Excellency Isaac Osei has never stolen from anybody and has not received any parcel or certificate intended for the said Chancellor Kohl.
Even though these denials were previously made known to the paper, it refused to publish them because, ' the publication' according to the solicitors 'was intended to and actually has succeeded in diminishing the high esteem in which the plaintiff was held not only in Ghana but abroad.'
The solicitors were therefore claiming retraction of the story and apology with
prominence on the front page of The Ghanaian Chronicle; punitive and general damages for defamation and an injunction restraining the defendants and each of their agents from furthering such publication; cost of injury and other debt and equitable relief were also demanded.
The Ghanaian Chronicle, obviously realising that it aired, gave up and requested to settle out of court.