Anas wants portions of Ken Agyapong’s defence struck out

The legal team for investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas have asked an Accra High Court to expunge sections of Kennedy Agyapong’s statement in a GH¢25million defamation suit.

In his witness statement, the Assin Central MP had alleged that Anas had demanded US$150,000 from the then GFA President Kwasi Nyantakyi before the premiere of the Number 12 undercover report in 2018.

The said amount, if paid, according to the Assin Central legislator, would have omitted the portion of the video that sought to implicate the then FA President.

It could have also have prevented the ace journalist from showing the documentary entirely.

Mr Agyapong further alleged that since the then FA President could not get the full amount, the plaintiff (Anas) “vehemently refused as being insufficient thus went ahead to premiere the documentary”.

These allegations, captured in Paragraphs 7 and 8 of the MPs witness statement, has been strongly opposed by the legal team for Anas.

The team also objected to some exhibits that Mr Agyapong wanted to tender in.

The basis for the objections of the said paragraphs and exhibits, the team said, are hearsay evidence contrary to section 116 and 117 of the Evidence Act.

“We further state that the witness has no personal knowledge as required under section 60 of the Evidence Act to speak or testify to the deposition in paragraphs 7 and 8, and the videos captured as exhibit KAO1, KAO3 and KAO4.

“He is not in any way connected to the said videos and therefore not competent and clothed with the least knowledge to speak on these matters,” the team said.

Samuel Appiah, Odoi Oko and Dennis Frimpong Agyebeng held brief for Anas’ lead counsel Kissi Agyebeng.

In turns, the team who spoke urged the court to dismiss the said paragraphs and exhibits yet to be accepted as evidence.

Counsel for the Assin Central MP had a contrary view. Raphael Agyapong and Henry McKorley described the objection as “unmeritorious in law and in fact”.

“The said paragraph 7 and 8, which they are seeking to object, is captured on pages 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. On the issue of the video exhibit, the plaintiff (Anas) is in court seeking damage of GH¢25million alleged to have been defamed by the defendant.

“All two witnesses who came to testify said they rely on the exhibit so then does not lie in the mouth of counsel to object to that particular evidence that he is relying on as the basis of his defamation suit.

“Finally, what is the purpose of cross-examination, it is to discredit a witness who may not be speaking the truth, so if they think they have a good case, it will be better to cross-examine the witness to know if the evidence is hearsay,” they argued.

After listening to both submissions, the trial judge Justice Eric Baah concluded that the objections raised by the plaintiff (Anas) were indeed fundamental to the case.

He, therefore, adjourned the case to June 29 to give his ruling on whether the said paragraphs in Mr Agyapong’s witness statement will be maintained or struck out.

Why Kennedy Agyapong is in court

Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, in June 2018, filed a GH₵ 25 million defamation suit against the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong.

The suit follows the NPP legislator’s comment on his media outlet, throwing a lot of accusations about Anas in his bid to discredit the investigative journalist, who released an explosive piece on the rot in Ghana football.

Kennedy Agyapong raised issues with the journalist’s inability to pay taxes, his use of land guards to grab people’s properties and other things.

The NPP legislator is yet to provide evidence to the allegations.

Anas, is therefore, seeking reliefs, including general damages for libel, as well as aggravated damages arising from the libellous comments.

The first publication is a live programme in Twi on Adom TV on May 29, 2018, where Mr Agyapong is said to have stated that Anas was a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist and evil.

The second, in a similar manner, published defamatory words on May 31, 2018, via Oman FM, a private radio station owned by the defendant.

The plaintiff (Anas) 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.

READ ALSO: Kennedy Agyapong runs to Supreme Court

Mr Agyapong’s scandals 

Kennedy Agyapong, a businessman and an NPP financier, has a history of making scandalous comments.

He has shown he is not allergic to defamation suits. He was sued by Ivy Heward-Mills, wife of a late NPP MP.  In the suit filed in January 2019, the widow asked for GH¢50million.

READ ALSO: Counsel for Agyapong protesting against playing video

A retired Chief State Attorney, Ellen C. Kwawukume, also brought a GH¢25 million defamation suit in September 2018.

In May 2020, a former government appointee, Joseph Yamin, sued controversial NPP MP Kennedy Agyapong for defamation and has asked for GH¢95 million.

Many of these cases have not been concluded. But in a case that has come closest to completion, the Accra High Court gave veteran journalist Mr Kweku Baako victory in a defamatory suit against Mr Agyapong.

The MP is to pay him GH¢100,000 in damages. But Mr Agyapong has appealed the judgment, and the hearing has not been concluded.

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