Defense Minister Brownie Samukai has filed for a general damage of not less than US$ 5, 00,000 against the Congress for Democratic Change Revolutionary National Youth League Chairperson Jefferson Koijee. Minister Samukai is also requesting not less than US$1, 000,000 for punitive damages against defendant Koijee for his alleged ‘reckless’ action in further imputing to plaintiff dishonesty and deception.
In the plaintiff’s complaint filed on October 22, which is based on Action for Damages for Libel and Slander by Attachment, plaintiff explains that special damages will lie because the press statement of October 2 issued by defendant Koijee in Monrovia is slanderous per se and imputes to the plaintiff a crime.
The accuser informed the Civil Law Court that the action of defendant Koijee in reading out to the public that he (plaintiff) give his assurance that ‘the ground was fertile for such program to be executed, so as such he will not stop them,’ knowing that it was false, was only intended to undermine plaintiff’s integrity and malign his character and bring total disrepute to his credibility.
Plaintiff said the statement attributed to him by the defendant was the major topic on all radio talk shows in Monrovia and that brought into question his commitment and patriotism to the government and the citizenry.
He said the publication of the statement in all major dailies and printed as banner headlines labeled him further, thereby making the action libelous per se and damages would lie.
Plaintiff further told the court how upon noticing the press statement and falsehood expressed therein, he requested his legal counsel to write the defendant requesting him to revert to the airwaves and inform the public about the date, time and organizers of the coup whom he gave his assurances that the ground was fertile for such program to be executed.
Plaintiff submitted that statements that are actionable per se as in the instant case do not require any pleading or proof of damages. He said by definition, injury is presumed from the mere fact of the publication of the false and defamatory for which general and punitive damages are recoverable as determined by the jury.
Meanwhile, defendant Koijee has been issued a Writ of Summons by attachment to appear before the Civil Law Court on December 16, at 10:00 a.m. to answer to the plaintiff’s complaint and failure to appear, judgment of default will be rendered against him.