Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas says he will no longer testify in the criminal trial of former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwasi Nyantakyi.
He explains that allowing his face to be inspected before court proceedings will endanger him.
The journalist was, this week, directed by an Accra High Court to testify in open court in his trademark mask but his face would have to be seen by Mr.Nyantakyi before the hearing begins.
Anas points out that his request for the protection of his identity stems from his role as an undercover journalist, and exposing his face elevates the risk.
In a May 18 press release, Tiger Eye P.I. indicated 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.”
He says that he only opted to testify in the stead of his colleague Ahmed Suale who was killed on condition that his identity will be protected.
He therefore cannot accept the invitation to testify. On the back of this, “prudence requires that he declines the invitation to reveal his identity,” according to the statement.
It presents a major challenge, the entire case hinges on the work done by Anas and his colleagues at Tiger Eye PI.
The trial itself was delayed because the key witness, Ahmed Suale was killed. The Attorney General thus has the option of compelling Anas to testify in which case they risk having him not cooperating when he mounts the box, dropping the case entirely or having another person testify.
But the last option comes with the risk of that person not having personal knowledge of the evidence.
This is in the criminal trial of the former football administrator arising from the Number 12 documentary which sought to expose corruption in Ghana football.
On May 17, the court ruled that it is in the interest of justice that where the liberty of a citizen is at stake, that such a person is given the needed facilities to defend themselves.
It noted that Anas is a principal witness in the determination of the case. His identity, it pointed out, becomes crucial to allow the accused to identify him and to be able to defend himself.
The court said Anas has been seen in public addressing the media while wearing his bead masks and this shows that he was comfortable appearing in public while disguising himself.
The court, therefore, issued the following orders on how the case should proceed;
“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.”