Lawyers for investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas have asked the public to disregard media reports suggesting that the Supreme Court has ordered him to testify in a court case without his iconic face mask.
In a statement dated November 8, 2022, and issued Tuesday night, Cromwell Gray LLP, lawyers for the ace journalist stated: “Anas may choose to testify as a prosecution witness or not.”
“Anas and his Tiger Eye team will continue to wear the iconic face beads as a symbol of impartial anonymity in investigative journalism and to highlight the extreme risks in that line of duty,” they stated.
The Supreme Court had quashed the Accra High Court’s decision for Anas Aremeyaw Anas, to testify in-camera against Kwesi Nyantakyi for his documentary dubbed ‘Number 12’ on football administration and alleged bribery.
A witness for the Republic, Ahmed Suale, who was one of the investigative journalists in respect of the documentary, was murdered in Madina, Accra weeks before his testimony could be taken.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas had then agreed to testify in the stead of Ahmed Suale, on condition that he be allowed to do so in camera or in chambers.
The court had agreed but lawyers for the accused person, Kwesi Nyantakyi petitioned the Supreme Court to quash the High Court’s decision for Anas to testify in camera.
The Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Baffoe-Bonnie on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, granted the application for certiorari filed by Kwesi Nyantakyi quashing the order of the Accra High Court granting a dispensation to Anas to testify in camera as a prosecution witness in the criminal case entitled Republic v Kwesi Nyantakyi & Another.
In March 2022, during Case Management Conference, the High Court presided over by Justice Elfreda Dankyi granted an application by the prosecution for Anas to give evidence in camera as a prosecution witness in the case of Republic v Kwesi Nyantakyi and Another.
Mr Nyantakyi therefore applied to the Supreme Court for an order of certiorari to quash the dispensation given to Anas.
Mr Nyantakyi’s grounds for going to the Supreme Court were that the order of the High Court offended the human rights of the applicant as guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution, that the order was made without regard to the procedures and rules of court which required that a formal and not an oral application be made in such circumstances; and the order of the court was made in excess of jurisdiction of the court.
The Supreme Court upheld the application and quashed the order of the High Court as having been made without the requisite legal basis.
Following that, some media reports had suggested that Anas would now have to testify in open court without his iconic face mask.
Reaction by Anas’s lawyers
But reacting to the media reports on the ruling by the Supreme Court, lawyers for Anas explained that the criminal proceedings were instituted following Anas’ petition filed with the Attorney-General.
“The Star witness for the Republic, Ahmed Suale, who was one of the investigative journalists in respect of the documentary, was murdered in Madina, Accra weeks before his testimony could be taken.”
“Anas Aremeyaw Anas agreed to testify in the stead of Ahmed Suale on condition that he be allowed to do so in camera or in chambers.”
“The public should disregard false reportage that Anas has been ordered by the Supreme Court or is being compelled by the Supreme Court to appear in court without his trademark face beads.
“Anas may choose to testify as a prosecution witness or not. Anas and his Tiger Eye team will continue to wear the iconic face beads as a symbol of impartial anonymity in investigative journalism and to highlight the extreme risks in that line of duty.”