Number 12: Produce a witness by April 30, or I strike out your case against Nyantakyi- High Court warns state

An Accra High Court has issued a final warning to the state to produce witnesses to testify against former Ghana Football Association (GFA) president, Kwesi Nyantakyi else the fraud and other charges brought against him will be dismissed....READ FULL ARTICLE

The state named five witnesses to testify in the matter including Anas Aremeyaw Anas. However, none of the witnesses has been presented to court despite filing witness statements.

Mrs Justice Marie-Louise Simmons, the third judge sitting on the case since it started in March 2020, last Wednesday stated her inclination to strike the case out after state prosecutors informed the court that Anas Aremeyaw Anas, their star witness had declined to appear in court and testify as a witness without wearing a mask/hood citing security for his life as his concern.

According to the state prosecutor, Mr Aremeyaw Anas had implored the state to appeal against the decision of the High Court ordering him to show his face to the accused persons and their lawyers before testifying.

A High Court ruling in May 2023, stated that “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.”

This was after the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Baffoe-Bonnie on November 8, 2022, granted an application for certiorari filed by Kwesi Nyantakyi, quashing the order of High Court 2, Criminal Division, which granted a dispensation for the state to have its principal witness, Anas Aremeyaw Anas testify in-camera.

Lawyers of Nyantakyi quoted the prosecution to have said, “Our witness Anas Aremeyaw Anas, we pray that his testimony is heard in camera.”

This application was opposed by the applicant’s lawyer at the Supreme Court on April 29, 2022, who insisted that the High Court gave a dispensation without the facts and grounds of the application formally set out in an application to the Court.

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A portion of the application said “…it is evident from Applicant’s lawyer’s objections to how the High Court’s discretion was invoked for a dispensation that the reasons for which the prosecution made the prayer were not clear.

“This is put beyond doubt by Applicant’s lawyer’s submission which is captured in the record as follows;

“…this will have the opportunity to let us know why he wants to testify in camera. (sic)”

“It is proper he comes formally, file a motion and support with an affidavit why his witness wants to testify in camera….”

This objection was ignored, but the Supreme Court upheld the plea, quashing the High Court ruling.

Anas Aremeyaw Anas, via his X page, formerly Twitter, published a statement from his legal team which said that he may choose to testify on behalf of the late Ahmed Suale, who was the principal witness.

“Anas Aremeyaw Anas agreed to testify in the stead of Ahmed Suale on the condition he will be allowed to do so in-camera or in chambers,” portion of the statement said in reaction to the order from the Supreme Court for him to testify without his mask.

It added that “Anas may choose to testify as prosecution witness or not.

“Anas and his Tiger Eye Pi team will continue to wear the iconic face beads as a symbol of impartial anonymity in investigative journalism and to highlight the extreme risk in that line of duty.”

Following the decision of the Supreme Court, the High Court ruled that Anas should show his face to the accused persons before his testimony.

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An appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal about five months ago but neither a date for a hearing has been fixed nor a judgement delivered on the appeal.

During an appearance in court on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the High Court judge gave the state a window to produce witnesses in the next adjourned date of April 30, 2024, or the case will be struck out.

It would be recalled that Justice Comfort Kwasiwor Tasiame, the first judge to sit on the case, on March 11, 2021, when it began on March 4, 2020, discharged the accused persons, stating, “I think the prosecution may need a longer time to put their house in order.

“It’s been one year since we set out to do a case Management Conference but due to the excuse by the Learned Counsel for the Republic, that they have a witness statement to file, we kept adjourning this case till today.

“I think in these modern times there can be a way out for prosecution who has the whole state apparatus behind her to file a witness statement without us going and coming.”

“Justice delayed they say Justice denied. Justice is two-way traffic for prosecution and accused as well,” the respected Judge noted.

“As it stands now, I have no option other than to discharge the accused persons. Any time prosecution is ready, they can do the needful.

“Accused persons are discharged,” Justice Comfort ruled.

However, Counsel for the Republic Victoria Asieduaa, proceeded to Criminal Court 2 of the High Court on March 24, 2021, to have the case heard afresh.

Nyantakyi filed an opposition against the move of the Republic, requesting that the case be taken back to Court 4, but on June 7, Justice Elfreda A. Dankyi, the second judge to sit on the case ruled that it would be heard in her court.

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The Republic filed its first witness statements two years ago, but none is yet to appear in court and testify.

March 4, 2024, would be exactly four years since the former CAF 1st Vice President and FIFA Council member, Kwesi Nyantakyi was arraigned before the Accra High Court.

Anas Aremeyaw Anas on March 26, 2019, barely a year after the exposè demanded the prosecution of Mr Nyantakyi in an online petition.

“In Ghana, he (Nyantakyi) was arrested, then granted bail. Police have completed investigations into likely criminal misconduct by Mr Nyantakyi.

“They submitted their findings to the Attorney General last year. The Attorney General has not taken any action on the case till date,” Anas said in a statement.

“Please help us ASK the Attorney General to MOVE this case forward. Mr Nyantakyi should face criminal prosecution over some of his misconduct, which borders on criminality.

“We are sending letters, making calls, sending social messages to all government entities that can help us MOVE this case to the next level. We are also reaching out to news media to help spread the word.

“If Nyantakyi is not prosecuted, our collective fight against corruption will be meaningless. It will also send a signal to many citizens that the law only deals with the poor, but the rich and powerful cannot be held responsible for their actions,” he noted.

In November same year, Mohammed Abdul Aziz, Member of Parliament for the Mion constituency demanded answers from the then Attorney General, Madam Gloria Akuffo today told Parliament that the government was committed to the prosecution of Kwesi Nyantakyi....READ FULL ARTICLE

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