Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has made the decision to no longer testify in the criminal trial of former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwasi Nyantakyi.
Anas explains that allowing his face to be revealed in court proceedings would put him at risk.
The Accra High Court had directed Anas to testify in open court wearing his trademark mask, but his face would have to be seen by Mr Nyantakyi before the hearing begins.
Anas emphasizes that his request for identity protection stems from his role as an undercover journalist, and revealing his face would increase the potential danger.
In a press release by Tiger Eye P.I. on May 18, it was stated that “Anas's request for the protection of his identity stems from his role as an undercover agent and the real and elevated risk that revealing his identity to the accused person will severely compromise his physical security and personal safety.”
Anas reveals that he agreed to testify only on the condition of protecting his identity, taking the place of his late colleague Ahmed Suale.
Due to these circumstances, he cannot accept the invitation to testify, as “prudence requires that he declines the invitation to reveal his identity,” according to the statement.
This presents a significant challenge as the entire case relies on the work done by Anas and his colleagues at Tiger Eye PI.
The trial itself faced delays after the key witness, Ahmed Suale, was killed. The Attorney General now has the option of compelling Anas to testify, risking his non-cooperation or dropping the case entirely, or finding another person to testify.
However, the last option carries the risk of the person not having personal knowledge of the evidence.
The criminal trial revolves around the former football administrator and arises from the Number 12 documentary, which aimed to expose corruption in Ghana football.
On May 17, the court ruled that when the liberty of a citizen is at stake, it is in the interest of justice to provide the necessary facilities for their defence.
The court noted that Anas is a key witness in the case, and his identity is crucial to allow the accused to identify him and mount a defence.
The court mentioned that Anas has appeared in public wearing his bead masks while addressing the media, indicating his comfort with appearing in public while disguising his face.
Consequently, the court issued the following orders regarding the proceedings of the case:
“Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas will testify against former GFA President Kwasi Nyantakyi in open court but disguised in a mask.
“Mr Nyantakyi will, however, have the opportunity to see his face in chambers before such testimony.”
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