There were heated exchanges in open court as the Member of Parliament for Assin Central Ken Ohene Agyepong and lawyers of investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas traded in vulgar language.
Under cross-examination lawyers of Anas sought to enquire about the personal competency of Ken Agyepong regarding a video he obtained from Salis Newspaper, one of the basis for his ‘Who Watches the Watchman.’
Unhappy with counsel’s use of the word “incompetent” the MP who is the respondent in the GHc25 million defamation suit from Anas, exploded in open court.
“The words he (counsel) used were an insult to me (Ken Agyepong). He earlier said I’m incompetent…You are foolish, who the hell do you think you are? I am a Member of Parliament. My Lord, he (Counsel) is disrespecting me. Have you campaigned before?, a visibly angry Ken Agyapong asked.
Sammy Darko, one of the lawyers of Anas rose to his feet and said if the witness (Ken Agyapong) disrespects the Bar, he is disrespecting the court.
According to him, the action and the conduct of the witness is disrespectful to the court.
The court presided over by Justice Eric Baah intervened and said, lawyers and witnesses
address the court and not lawyers of the parties. If there is any foul language used, it goes against the dignity of the court.
The court said, ‘I agree that the unprinted words used by the defendant are not acceptable and I call on him to withdraw his words”
The court also urged Counsel for the plaintiff to also watch his words in dealing with the matter and urged him to focus on the substance of the case.
The Assin Central MP Ken Agyepong subsequently apologised to the court and tempers were calmed down.
The court accepted the apology of the witness but cautioned the lawyer for the plaintiff to be mindful of the words used.
Who Watches the Watchman
In the substantive matter, the court has ordered the showing of Ken Agyepong’s video titled ‘Who Watches the Watchman’.
The watching of the said video has become necessary after the Member of Parliament for Assin North mounted the witness box to give evidence.
The lawyer for Ken Agyepong, Rapheal Agyapong prior to adjourning proceedings prayed for the exhibits to be shown to the court.
Though the lawyers of Anas indicated that, the showing of the over 2 hours video will further delay the case, the court said, the proper procedure is that, the admissibility of the video can only be determined after it had been played.
Under cross-examination, Ken Agyepong told the court that, the Salis newspaper brought him the video and according to them, it was recorded as far back as 2010.
According to him, they brought it to him around 2018, when Kwesi Nyantakyi was accused by the plaintiff that the former GFA president was corrupt during his tenure as GFA boss.
Though agreed with counsel that, per his own admission he cannot testify to the authenticity of the content of the exhibits Who Watches Watchman, he explained that, “I can testify because, I did further investigations before, I showed the video.”
He said, the first video was recorded in Lagos Town in Accra and the second one was recorded in a prosecutor’s office.
‘The first video ‘KOA1’ and is titled ‘Who Watches The Watchman’. It happened in Lagos Town in Accra when the plaintiff was trying to extort money from a group of fraudsters who had gone to defraud a man who wanted to buy gold.
“The second one was the plaintiff talking to a prosecutor in the said case about how to destroy the case by giving the prosecutor $5k and also claimed to have given money to the CID Head,” he explained.
He further told the court that, ‘I’m not the author, but when I saw the video, I did my own investigations by calling some people im the video. I called Aziz and he confirmed that Yes, the meeting did happen at Lagos Town. Aziz further came on air to admit that it was true. I called the current EOCO director who was then the CID Director that the plaintiff mentioned in the video that he has given him (CID Director) money. So after the check then we showed the video. I admit that I’m not the author but I did my investigations to authenticate the truth in that video.
“My Lord, simply put, I was told and also saw the video to support what the Salis Newspaper told me. They have a video, that is what has been tendered in,” he noted.
Sometime in 2018, the ace international investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas dragged the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, to court for defaming him.
Anas was asking the High Court to award aggravated damages to the tune of GH¢25 million arising from defamatory materials published by the MP.
He said, the MP had been publishing 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, has been granted the lawful attorney to stand in for Anas.
The publication complained of are 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.