An Accra High Court, presided over by His Lordship Justice Kweku T. Ackaah- Boafo, has ruled against a Motion on Notice, filed by General Media Strategic INC, publishers of Africa Watch Magazine for an order for the Court to decline further jurisdiction in a suit between it and ex-President FLT. LT. Jerry John Rawlings.

The former President had sued Liberty Media Concepts, Steve Mallory, Baffour Ankomah, Rosemary Atiemo and Lisa Vives in Ghana and the United States of America respectively for defamation.


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According to the court, the first and third defendants, General Media Strategic INC and Steve Mallory, were praying to stay proceedings in the instant suit, pending the final determination of an appeal filed against an earlier ruling of the Court and pending at the Court of Appeal.

Effiba Amihere, counsel for the two defendants, prayed the court that her clients do not do business in Ghana because they are not registered in Ghana and, therefore, they are not amenable to the jurisdiction of this Court.

Thus, the counsel sought the following orders from the Court: “An order to decline further jurisdiction in this action against the 1st and 3rd Defendants on the basis of forum non-convenience and for any further order(s) as this Honourable Court shall deem fit and necessary to make.”


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She continued that if the matter proceeds to trial, her clients could incur costs defending the matter, while the appeal is pending at the Court of Appeal and based on that, Ms. Amihere prayed the Court to grant the application and stay the proceeding, pending the determination of the appeal.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Haniya Yahaya, prayed the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that the Applicants have failed to demonstrate any exceptional circumstance for the grant of the application, urging the court to award punitive costs against the Applicants.

Ruling on the matter, the judge stated that the threshold test for granting a stay of proceedings is a high one, requiring the demonstration of extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.



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“I also need to reiterate that, as a general rule, a court has an unfettered discretion under its inherent power to either grant or refuse an application for stay of proceedings and in exercising the discretion, several factors are taken into consideration.

“But, the overriding consideration has always been whether special circumstances exist to warrant any stay of proceedings and on a balance of convenience and hardship.”

He further explained that Notice of Appeal and the affidavit evidence enable the Court to assess the application and if satisfied, upon the affidavit or facts, provided that the Applicant has filed the appeal not bona fide to test the rightness of the ruling/judgment, but for some collateral purpose, then the application for stay is to be refused .

“To my mind, it cannot be denied that every litigation is expensive and can be inconvenient, but those alone cannot and should not trump over any individual’s right to seek justice if he/she believes that his rights have been trampled upon, notwithstanding where the adversary resides,” he added.

He also awarded cost of GHC2,000 against defendants.


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