Rev Isaac Opoku who is also the Chief Executive Officer of OPFA Group of Companies is seeking N13.2m in damages after his attention was drawn to a defamation statement against him by the three persons he had sued.
The 1st defendant, Adu is Pastor at Glorious Word Power Ministry International Church, South Odorkor Busia, while the 2nd and 3rd Defendants Justice Kwaku Annan, a journalist and NET 2 Television station respectively.
The Plaintiff is seeking against the defendants jointly and severally, “general damages of N13.2m against them for what he described as “exemplary damages for malicious conduct of the 1st and 2nd defendants and tacitly by the 3rd.”
He is also asking for a declaration that the statements made by the 1st Defendant supported by 2nd defendant in the 3rd defendant’s TV studio on Monday April 27, 2020 between 8 and 10 pm, and successively on Monday May 4, 2020 between 8.00 pm and 10.00 pm were defamatory.
He is also seeking for “an order of the Court directed at the defendants to publish on three (3) consecutive occasions on the same platform that broadcast or published the defamatory words, an unqualified retraction and apology of every broadcast made by the defendants against the plaintiff with the same prominence as given to the broadcast and publication of the defamatory words.
“An order for perpetual Injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, or by their guest, host and TV station, their agents, assigns, and servants from further publishing the said broadcast, including on any other electronic broadcast.”
Order for substituted service
Following the issuance of the writ of summons and its attached statement of claim which were duly served on the 2nd and the 3rd Defendants promptly, several attempts to serve the 1st Defendant had been unsuccessful.
The plaintiff and his lawyer’s prayed the court for a substituted service after it became obvious that the 1st Defendant has been evading service of the summons on him on over three different occasions.
That these frustrations of service on him recurred at all times at the Glorious Word Power Ministry International Church, South Odorkor Busia Road, Accra the office premises of the 1st Defendant.
“That I am advised and verily believe same to be true that in the absence of personal service a litigant can be served processes by order of the court by service by substitution through the Court Notice Board, service on the last known place of abode and or business address as well as service by publications in a an accredited widely circulated Daily Newspaper of choice.
“That I pray for an order for service by substitution by posting the writ of summons and the statement of claim on High the Court Notice Board, Court Complex Accra, service by pasting on the walls of the Glorious Word Power Ministry International Church, South Odokor Busia road, Accra the last known place of abode and or business address of the 1st Defendant and including one (1) time advertisement by a publication in an accredited widely circulated Daily Newspaper in Ghana, including electromagnetic publications.
“Wherefore I swear to this affidavit, believing same to be true, that the 1st Defendant has deliberately resorted to evasion of personal service until the Honourable Court exercises its power by an order for substituted service of all court processes to be served on the 1st Defendant by the above mentioned prescribed modes of service,” the plaintiff deposed to the court.
The High Court General Jurisdiction Division presided over by Justice Stephen Oppong ordered that the writ of summons and statement of claim together with the court order be served on the 1st Defendant by posting copies on the walls of the Glorious Word Power Ministries International Church, South Odorkor Busia and posting on the notice board of the court.
Statement of claim
In his statement of case to the court, the plaintiff said the defendants were deliberately reckless to maliciously invade and destroy the stature and standing of plaintiff, his ministry and person.
The plaintiff in his deposition to the court said the broadcast has gone viral since and can state that by May 4, 2020 there had been over 2500 reproductions, comments on Facebook and other electronic media in achieving the set smear and defamation schemes of the defendants and have willfully and recklessly defamed the plaintiff, his ministry and all persons, members, employee pastors and associates of the plaintiff and or his ministry.
To this end he said, particulars of defamation, slander and vilification to his person under order 57, Rule 2 of the Court Act, claims that the defendants have said plaintiff is an occultist pastor, a fake pastor and not a real man of God, plaintiff sacrificed a pastor, Kwame from Kwahu, plaintiff is a fraudster, satanic and using a satanic ministry in the character of Christian religion.
He said the 2nd and 3rd Defendants were determined to defame plaintiff so much so that they neglected to verify any of the 1st defendant’s allegations before hosting him on their programme thereby deliberately slandering plaintiff in concert.