Monrovia - The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoyah, is seeking damages of over US$200,000.00 from a writer and two media entities which, he claimed published an article that assassinated his character.
The NEC boss is the latest government official to have filed lawsuit for damages for libel in the wake of the mounting calls by many Liberians including media executives for the decriminalization of the libel laws which tends to hinders free speech in the country.
Court record in the possession of FrontPageAfrica named the writer as Mr. John H.T. Stewart and the two media entities as the New Democrat and The Analyst Newspapers, two local dailies in the country.
Chairman Korkoyah, in a 50-count complaint at the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice filed during the September 2016 Term of Court, claimed that the article written by Mr. Stewart and published by the two dailies, Analyst and New Democrat Newspapers, was a calculated act of character assassination.
“That this is an action for damages based upon a calculated act of character assassination committed by John Stewart, the Analyst and Democrat Newspaper against Jerome Korkoyah, a decent man who worked his way from the position of a janitor at the Liberia Petroleum Company (LPRC) and has enjoyed a good reputation both generally and in his professional career”, the complaint stated.
In his complaint, the NEC boss also stated that in his article “Assessing Presidential Candidate Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s Chances in 2017,” the author accused him of being very corrupt and that during the last Senatorial by –elections in the country was awash with rumors that one of the candidates had presented him a brand new Ford Suv Jeep which he accepted”.
More to that, the NEC Chairman says that he was also accused of fixing the results of the election in several counties including Bong and was reportedly seen in Gbarnga with the elected Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor on the day of the polls.
The article, Chairman Korkoyah continued, stated that NEC inside sources provided that Chairman Korkoyah has been providing bribes to the leaderships of some political parties in order to ensure their acquiescence and silence on crucial matters concerning NEC.
While the complaint furthered that the article also stated that the integrity of NEC especially under the corrupt and incompetent leadership of Jerome Korkoyah and the entire 2017 elections results could be compromised.
The complaint further stated that after writing the above cited false and libelous statement per se concerning plaintiff, 1st defendant John Stewart delivered and published or caused same to be delivered and published shortly before June 6, 2016 to at least one employee/official of The Analyst Newspaper who read same and that 1st defendant Stewart later caused said libelous statements to be published in the New Democrat Newspaper to readers in Montserrado County and elsewhere to read.
“Plaintiff says that herein mentioned acts of defendants were willful, malicious, outrageous and were undertaken with the intent to cause injuries to plaintiff and should be held liable to pay US$200,000.00 as general damages and not less than US$75,000.00 as punitive damages” stated the complaint while the Civil Law Court has set September 19, 2016 at 10:00 am for hearing.