National Election Commission (NEC) Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, has filed a US$825,000 lawsuit against two newspapers which he accused of being deceived by a man identified as John H.T. Stewart to publish a series of “false stories” that linked him to criminal offenses. Korkoya claims that the publications defamed his good name and reputation.
The New Democrat and Analyst newspapers are to pay US$200,000 as general damages each and US$75,000 as punitive damages for the alleged libelous stories.
Stewart himself would also pay US$200,000 as general damages each and US$75,000 as punitive damages, totaling US$825,000, according to Korkoya’s lawsuit filed on his behalf by Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah.
The New Democrat and Analyst, Korkoya alleges in his suit filed on June 6, published separate stories under the same caption, “Assessing Presidential Candidate Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s Changes in 2017,” which the lawsuit named Stewart as the author.
In Cllr. Kruah’s suit, the NEC Chairman further alleges that the two newspapers also published a series of articles that implicated Korkoya in “corruption and bribery.”
In those articles, Cllr. Kruah quoted the newspapers as alleging, “Korkoya is very corrupt, of receiving a brand new Ford SUV from one of the candidates in the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections.”
The newspapers were further quoted as accusing the NEC Chairman of “fixing the results in several counties including Bong and of producing subventions (bribes) to the leadership of some political parties to ensure their acquiescence and silence on crucial matters concerning the NEC.”
Those publications, Korkoya’s lawyer claims, were criminal offenses against his client because at no time was Korkoya ever charged with such crimes which, according to Kruah, Korkoya has never committed.
“Korkoya has never committed such crimes or any crimes for that matter,” the court records quoted the lawsuit.
Cllr. Kruah argued that the newspapers and Stewart have defamed Korkoya’s good reputation and the defendants have committed an act of libel against his client.
According to Kruah, following their publication of a series of such stories, Korkoya wrote the managements of the two newspapers to retract what he considered as “libelous publications.”
The lawsuit alleges however that on July 13, the New Democrat and Analyst, instead of retracting the stories, both allegedly intensified their libelous publication campaign against Korkoya.
New Democrat newspaper, in its volume 17, No.112 published an article on July 13 under the caption: “Korkoya Reacts to Libelous Essay,” while on that same day the Analyst ran a story captioned: “Runs to Lawyers against Analyst, Seek Retraction.”
Again, on July 18, the lawsuit alleges the Analyst in its publication in volume 17 NO.114 ran a story under the caption: “Leave Us Alone Face Your Accuser.”
“The Analyst Replies Korkoya’s Lawsuit Threat.”
Cllr. Kruah claims that the defendants’ libelous publications defamed Korkoya’s character, and subsequently associated him with criminal activities without any proof.
Therefore, Kruah pleads with the court to hold the Analyst and New Democrat liable for general damages in an amount of US$200,000 each, and for punitive damages in an amount of US$75,000, respectively.”
Cllr. Kruah also requested the court to hold defendant Steward liable for general damages in the amount of US$200,000 and US$75,000 for punitive damages.