Investigative Journalist, Anas Amereyaw Anas, has declined the invitation of an Accra High Court to show his face to former Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, in the judge’s chambers before testifying in an open court behind his trademark mask.
Anas says he cannot reveal his identity in the chamber or any other such public place due to the security implications this action is likely to have on him.
A statement released by his private investigative firm, Tiger Eye PI, said:
“Under these circumstances, prudence requires that he declines the invitation to endanger his life and accordingly declines the invitation to reveal his identity to the defendant in the judges’ chamber or any other place.”.
The court’s order is that Anas, whose public life is lived behind masks for obvious security reasons, must unveil and reveal his identity in the judge’s chamber. The court would however allow him to disguise himself during his testimony in the open court.
But Anas, whose protégé (and Number 12 lead reporter) Ahmed Suale, was brutally murdered only months after the release of the scandalous documentary, says he has learned his lesson.
“The late Ahmed Hussein Suale was assassinated in broad daylight in 2019, on the same day that he had engagements with the Attorney General’s office on his testimony against the defendant,” the Tiger Eye PI statement explained.
The statement also alleged that Suale was attacked after MP for the Assin Central Constituency Kennedy Agyapong revealed his identity on national television and social media.
Ahmed Suale was the key witness in the case against Nyantakyi, but after his murder, Anas volunteered to testify in his stead. The statement continued that prior to his assassination, Ahmed Suale had received death threats.
“As much as Anas is willing and ready to testify for the prosecution, doing so under the condition specified by the court presents a clear and present danger to his security and safety, especially because of the issues chronicled above,” the statement said.
The statement also alleged that the decision to decline the invitation is also motivated by the actions of private and state actors who are bent on undermining the operations of the investigative journalist and his undercover methods.
“Nevertheless, Tiger Eye shall remain unwavering and relentless in its fight against corruption and societal ills. Anas remains in high spirits and is grateful to the good people of Ghana for their support and protection,” the statement said.
Kwesi Nyantakyi is currently facing trial after Anas’ investigative documentary, Number 12, captured him receiving gifts and cash to influence decisions in the football space.
The High Court in Accra had earlier granted an application by the state for Anas to testify in chambers, but lawyers of the accused filed a suit at the Supreme Court to quash the decision by the High Court.
The Supreme Court eventually granted the defendant’s request on the grounds that the case ought to have been initiated with a formal application and not an oral application.
However, when the case was called on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, for a ruling on another application on Anas Aremeyaw Anas testifying in-camera, the judge granted the application in parts.
The journalist, whose investigation led to Nyantakyi resigning from several football posts, had earlier claimed his life would be in danger if he testifies in court.
In June 2018, Nyantakyi was captured on film accepting $65,000 in cash from journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas posing as an undercover operative.
The footage was aired by BBC Africa’s investigations unit, Africa Eye. Nyantakyi negotiated 20% for a proposed sponsorship deal for the Ghana FA, an organization he had been presiding over since 2005.
However, the deal was initiated by the reporters aimed at exposing Nyantakyi’s alleged misconduct.
As a result of the documentary’s revelations, Nyantakyi lost his position as FIFA Council Member and 1st Vice President of CAF, the Confederation of African Football.
He was also banned by FIFA for a lifetime but reduced to 15 years in October 2020 after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.