An Accra High Court has dismissed the GH₵25 million defamation suit against the Assin Central legislator, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, brought by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Presiding over the case yesterday, Justice Eric Baah, held that the plaintiff 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.
The court also held that Mr Agyapong provided sufficient evidence to prove that the plaintiff used the findings of his work to solicit money from persons implicated in the evidence gathered by him.
Justice Baah said the evidence, according to the court, 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 Mr Agyapong was justified to call Anas “a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil”.
“I find the claims by the plaintiff meritless, and they are hereby dismissed,” Justice Baah ruled.
Speaking to journalists after the court hearing, Mr Agyapong said, “We have to be bold to speak the truth; Anas goes ahead to defame people, and gets away.”
“It is only in this country that a journalist covers his face to go and give evidence… while Supreme Court judges are sitting there. All I am saying is the victory is for Kwasi Nyantakyi,” he added.
In 2018, the ace international investigative journalist dragged the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, to court for allegedly defaming him.
Anas prayed the High Court to award aggravated damages to the tune of GH¢25 million arising from defamatory materials published by the MP.
According to suit, the MP published materials in his bid to discredit the investigative journalist, who had released an explosive piece on the rot in Ghana football.
Displeased with the MP’s actions, Anas, through his lawyer, Mr Kissi Agyebeng, sued Mr Agyapong for the award of general damages for defamation in the defendant’s publications.
A journalist, Mr Listowell Yesu Bukarson, was also granted the lawful attorney to stand in for Anas.
The publication complained of were a May 29, 2018 live programme in Twi on Adom TV, where Mr Agyapong categorically stated that Anas was “a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist and evil”.
According to the statement of claim, the defendant, in a similar manner, published defamatory words on May 31, 2018 via Oman FM, a private radio station owned by the defendant.
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.
The plaintiff complained that in consequence, his reputation, especially as a lawyer and globally acclaimed investigative journalist, had been egregiously damaged, resulting in debilitating distress and embarrassment.
“Further, he has been 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.
It also said the defendant published the words complained of, knowing them to be false and reckless, suggesting the defendant published the false and reckless statements to benefit him as a politician, as well as to direct traffic to his media channels.