General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018
Lawyer for investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has said the world football governing body, FIFA’s verdict on former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi has given credibility to the former’s recent investigative piece, titled ‘Number12’.
This, he says, waters down criticism by some Ghanaians over Anas’ work and the modus operandi he deploys.
“Someone goes to investigate, brings the result of the investigation to his lawyer that he wants a petition to be filed at several places including FIFA and that in respect with FIFA he wants him banned for life from any football related activity. FIFA comes out with a decision to say that it has banned the man for life from football related activities. It does not stop there. FIFA goes further to even impose something Anas did not even ask for; 500,000 Swiss Francs which is heftier than the dollar and you say that he did not do a good job? The punishment meted out to Mr. Nyantakyi is unheard of. It is the first time someone has been handed such a stiff punishment and you sit in your house and say he did not do a good job.”
He also watered down suggestions that his client unfairly entrapped Mr. Nyantakyi, to make the damning comments in his piece.
Many have questioned the modus operandi Anas deploys in his work, following his recent exposé on corruption in Ghana football.
Some have argued that the laws of Ghana do not condone secretly recording someone and using it as evidence against victims.
One avid critic of Anas’ work has been Kennedy Agyapong, who in a series of media interviews ahead of the premiere of the exposé dubbed “Number12” accused Anas of entrapping persons captured in the investigative film.
He described Anas as very corrupt and alleged that he was fond of taking bribes to exempt some persons he captures in his investigative films.
But speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View, Anas’ Lawyer, Kissi Agyabeng maintained that the credibility of his client cannot be contested.
“There is a portion of society who are calling Anas names and saying he is entrapping victims…It is the same thing we saw with the football saga… There is a section of the public accusing Anas as if he is the one who phosphered someone with corruption or he is the one who phospehered someone with money but if money is placed on the armchair and you know you are not supposed to take it and you take it because of the position you are in and then you are being taken to task and society turns around to say ‘why did you [Anas] even put the money there’, that is unfair” the lawyer said.
Mr. Nyantakyi has served notice he will appeal the decision by FIFA, describing it as unfair and harsh.
FIFA banned Nyantakyi for life on Tuesday, October 30, and fined him 500,000 Swiss Francs for multiple violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics after he was caught on tape by Anas Aremeyaw Anas accepting a cash gift from undercover reporters.
The final decision came after Nyantakyi was initially handed a 90-day provisional ban which was extended for another 45 days upon expiration.
500,000 Swiss Francs translates to 2,414,276.46 Ghana cedis and 497,490.00 dollars respectively.
Although several other football officials the world over have been banned for life and also fined, Mr. Nyantakyi’s fine is quite hefty, at least much higher than what former Fifa Boss, Sepp Blatter paid.
A statement on Fifa’s website announcing the life ban said: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”
“The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Nyantakyi guilty of having violated art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) and art. 22 (Commission) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, 2012 edition. As a consequence, Mr Nyantakyi is banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 500,000 has been imposed on Mr Nyantakyi.”
The credibility of the Ghana Football Association, which manages all national football activities in the country has been dented by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ investigative film which exposes massive rot and corruption in local football.
Anas and Tigereye PI petition to FIFA
On Wednesday, June 6, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee received a complaint and request from journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas through Cromwell Gray LLP, to commence investigations into the conduct of Kwesi Nyantakyi based on the content of the journalists’ latest investigative film titled ‘Number12’.
The piece captured Kwesi Nyantakyi in a compromised position. He was filmed supposedly taking $65,000 (£48,000) from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman.
The video among other things captured top officials of the football association including its President, Nyantakyi taking bribes to influence the invitation of players to the national team, influencing the duration of playing time offered to some players and influencing the selection of unfit players and referees to participate in games.
Also, more than 100 referees were caught on tape taking bribes to manipulate the outcome of games in a team’s favour.
Following the first screening of the video which attracted more than 3,000 persons, many called for a complete dissolution of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and immediate resignation of its embattled president, Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was also the first Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) eventually resigned from all football-related positions few days after the video was aired.
Then the suspension from Fifa followed.
At a point, he was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service after President Akufo-Addo filed a complaint when he watched excerpts of Anas’ video, in which the former FA President was using his name to lure foreign investors.
Ghana gets FIFA-appointed Normalization Committee
Following the eventual halt of football activities in Ghana after the corruption exposé, the government of Ghana attempted to dissolve the FA using the courts, but faced stiff opposition from members of the FA.
Eventually, government and the FA came to an agreement to allow Fifa, to mediate in the matter. Fifa in the end, set up a Normalization Committee for the country in September 2018, which has been given a period of six months to sort out the issues and restore Ghana football to normalcy.
What becomes of Nyantakyi’s suits against Anas?
In the latter part of September 2018, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi sued undercover investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
That suit was the second time Mr. Nyantakyi was suing Anas and his Tigereye PI firm. The earlier suit also at a High Court, was specifically about defamation.
Nyantakyi wants the High Court to declare that Anas’ secret recording of their conversations as well as publishing same, violates his[Nyantakyi’s] “fundamental human rights to privacy and confidentiality in my dealings with others.”
He wants the court to also declare that the recordings violated his “right to dignity” because he wasn’t consulted before the piece was premiered, and thus prayed the apex court to award damages against Anas and his Tigereye PI firm for the said violations.
It is now unclear what becomes of Mr. Nyantakyi’s suits, considering the turn of events.