An Accra High Court has thrown out a GHC25 million defamation case filed by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas against the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central in the Central Region, Kennedy Agyapong.
The court presided over by Justice Eric Baah in it judgment delivered today Wednesday 15th March 2023, held that the plaintiff, Anas Aremeyaw Anas failed to prove that Ken Agyapong defamed him by airing the documentary “Who watches the watchman” but rather, the documentary exposed shady deals that Anas and his associates were involved in.
According to the court, Kennedy Agyapong provided sufficient evidence to prove that the plaintiff used the findings of his work to solicit for money from persons implicated in the evidence gathered by him.
Furthermore, the court held that the evidence also proved that those who were able to pay the sums of money demanded by Anas and his associates, got exempted from videos that were shown to the public.
The court concluded that what Anas is engaged in is not investigative journalism but rather investigative terrorism and that Agyapong was justified to call Anas “a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil”.
“I find the claims by the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas) meritless and they are hereby dismissed” Justice Baah ruled.
This was after Anas, in 2018, dragged the lawmaker to court for allegedly defaming him.
In his application, Anas prayed to the court to award aggravated damages of GHC25 million to compensate him for the defamatory material published against him by the MP.
According to Anas, Agyapong on May 29 2018, during a live programme in Twi on Adom TV, categorically stated that he was a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil.
The statement of claim filed by the lawyers of Anas, claimed that the defendant, similarly published defamatory words on May 31, 2018, on Oman FM, a private radio station owned by the defendant [KennedyAgyapong].
The statement of claim also stated that the defendant published more defamatory materials against the plaintiff via other platforms to the extent of releasing pictures purported to be those of the investigative journalist in his bid to blow the latter’s cover.
Anas indicated in his statement of claim that his reputation, especially as a lawyer and as a globally acclaimed investigative journalist, has been egregiously damaged.
“Furthermore, Anas indicates that following the publication, he was inundated with numerous calls from business associates, journalists around the world, social relations, friends, outright strangers, and he has had to answer very mortifying questions,” the statement of claim said.
According to Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Mr. Agyapong published the words complained of knowing them to be false and reckless.
Lawyers of Kennedy Agyapong after the ruling asked the court to award cost of GHC1 million against Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Lawyer for the Anas Aremeyaw Anas when he stood on his feet offered to pay Ghc 20,000.00 as cost.
Justice Eric Baah indicated that since the award of cost in such civil cases is at the discretion of the court, he will award cost of GHC50,000 against Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
By Vincent Kubi