Two Justices of the High Court who were cited in a judicial corruption scandal last year have carried out their threat to file a contempt suit against the awards committee of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and masked investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Justice Paul Uuter Dery and Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh want the High Court to punish all six members of the GJA awards committee for conferring “The overall Best Journalist of the Year, 2015 Award” on the ace investigative Journalist for his exposé that caused the dismal and suspension of scores of judges and magistrates.
The Justices hold that there is a pending case at the Supreme Court that is challenging the capacity of Anas’s investigative agency among other matters about the exposé and hence GJA’s award constitutes a breach of the Constitution and contempt of the Court.
“The Plaintiffs contend that the Award is meant to endorse and glorify the unconstitutional conduct of the 1st Defendant [Anas] which is inconsistent with or in contravention of the provisions of [Articles 3 (3) (a); 3 (4) (a); 41 (b); and 162 (5)] of the 1992 Constitution and its spirit,” the 12-page suit stated.
The Journalist Association on Saturday, August 27, 2016, settled on Anas Aremeyaw Anas for the second time as winner of the coveted Best Journalist award for his judicial bribery report.
GJA President Afail Money is 3rd Defendant
Anas captured a series of videos that showed High Court and Lower Court judges taking money and other gifts in order to change the course of justice.
The exposé has caused the dismissal of more than 20 judges, while others were suspended. Justices Dery and Logoh and Justice Ayisi Addo are among those suspended. More than 80 Judicial Service staff are also being investigated.
Shortly after the awards ceremony, Counsel for Justice Dery, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, raised concerns about GJA’s choice of Best Journalist for 2015, explaining that because there is a pending case challenging the capacity of Anas’s investigative agency, it was wrong to honour the investigative journalist for his work.
Anas followed his exposé with a petition to the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, requesting the removal of the justices, a move that has been met with fierce resistance by the embattled justices.
Mr Addo and his client hold that Anas did not have the legal capacity to file for a petition for the removal. The Supreme Court has set October 27, 2016 declare whether Anas and his team had legal backing to petiton against the Justices.
In the current suit against the GJA and Anas, the embattled Justices are demanding the following reliefs:
1. A declaration that the Plaintiffs never demanded for any money from the 1st Defendant [Anas] to influence their decisions in any cases pending before them.
2. A declaration that the audio visual recordings and transcripts therefore were fraudulently and unlawfully obtained by the 1st Defendant.
3. General damages for invasion of privacy against the 1st Defendant.
4. Punitive damages for invasion of privacy against the 1st Defendant.
And against the 1st to 8th Defendants [Anas and GJA] jointly and severally the following reliefs.
1. General damages for defamation against the 1st Defendant.
2. Aggravated damages for the malicious and fraudulent recordings, publication and circulation of audio visual recordings.
3. Exemplary damages against the reckless publications and circulations of the said audio visual recordings.
4. Compensatory damages against for the damage done to the Plaintiffs’ reputation.
5. A perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants from publishing any further malicious, unlawful and defamatory material about the Plaintiffs.
6. Costs including legal fees.