Anas Aremeyaw Anas
An Accra High Court has granted banned former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi, to see the face of investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas without him wearing his bead disguise.
This, according to the court, would be in the chambers of the judge prior to Anas entering the witness box to testify in the trial in which Mr. Nyantakyi has been charged with fraud.
Mr. Nyantakyi is before the court together with a former member of the executive committee of the GFA, Abdulai Alhassan, charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and corruption.
The trial is as a result of alleged shady deals which were exposed by Anas Aremeyaw Anas in his ‘Number 12’ investigative piece which exposed alleged corrupt dealings at the GFA.
The prosecution, during case management, urged the court to allow Anas to testify in-camera and the court granted it.
But counsel for Mr. Nyantakyi took the issue to the Supreme Court, and the Apex Court quashed the decision of the High Court.
The prosecution subsequently filed an application before the court asking for an in-camera hearing for Anas but the defence opposed it and urged the court to order Anas to testify in open court while taking off his mask.
The court, presided over by Justice Marie Louise Simmons, in her ruling, indicated that the court has discretion to determine whether to consider certain issues in chambers in-camera as opposed to hearing it in open court.
She said it is in the interest of justice where the liberty of a citizen is at stake that they are given the needed facility to defend themselves.
It was the opinion of the court that Anas being a principal witness in the trial against Mr. Nyantakyi, his identity becomes crucial to allow the accused to identify him in order to be able to defend himself.
Justice Simmons also held that Anas even after the commencement of the case had been seen appearing at programmes and even addressing the media although covered in his bead mask, which the court said showed that he was comfortable appearing in public while disguising himself.
The court, therefore, granted the application in part and said Mr. Nyantakyi would be allowed to see the real face of Anas Aremeyaw Anas in chambers without the mask prior to testifying, to allow the accused identify him.
He will then wear the mask and testify in open court. This, the court said, will happen each time Anas comes to court to testify in the trial.
The court said phones and other gadgets for recording would not be brought into the chambers during the identification process.
Meanwhile, the court has ordered the prosecution to file any further disclosures by May 21, 2023 while the case was adjourned to June 21, 2023, for the prosecution to call its first witness.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak