Two High Court judges drag GJA to court to annul award conferred on Anas

Two justices of the High Court have dragged the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and its entire executive to the High Court, seeking an order to annul the highest GJA award conferred on ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Justices Paul Uuter Dery and Mustapha Habib Logoh are also urging the court to direct the GJA to withdraw the award from Anas.

They further want the court to punish the Executive Committee of the GJA for contempt of court for going ahead to reward Anas, despite a pending suit challenging the capacity of Tiger  Eye PI, an investigative body owned by Anas.

The scandal

Anas and his investigative team uncovered what is now deemed to be the biggest corruption scandal to hit the Judiciary.

Thirty-two judges, including the two plaintiffs, 10 other High Court judges and 20 magistrates, were implicated in the scandal, resulting in the dismissal of 20 judges while investigations continue.

More than 80 court clerks are also being investigated.

The plaintiffs have, since the scandal broke in September 2015, filed a number of lawsuits seeking to stop Anas from showing videos depicting the judges and others taking bribes to influence cases before them.

One of such suits is challenging the capacity of Tiger Eye PI and the case is expected to be decided on October 27, 2016.

But the GJA, at its 21st awards night on August 27, 2016, crowned Anas as the 2015 Journalist of the Year.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the GJA, the two plaintiffs instituted the suit in their bid to strip Anas of the award.

The writ

The suit, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyer, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, has Anas, the GJA President, Mr Roland Affail Monney, and six executive members of the GJA as defendants

Another relief being sought is a declaration that the conduct of the GJA at its 21st Awards ceremony in giving the “Overall Best Journalist of the Year 2015 Award to Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his exposé on so-called judicial bribery and corruption is inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 3 (3) (a) and 3 (4) (a) of the 1992 Constitution and thus unconstitutional”.

“A declaration that the conduct of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on 27th August, 2016 by which the GJA, at its 21st Awards ceremony, gave the “Overall Best Journalist of the Year 2015 Award” to Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his exposé on so-called judicial bribery and corruption is inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 41 (b) and (d) of the 1992 Constitution and thus unconstitutional.

“A declaration that the conduct of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on 27th August, 2016 by which the GJA, at its 21st Awards ceremony, gave the “Overall Best Journalist of the Year 2015 Award” to Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his exposé on so-called judicial bribery and corruption is inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 162 (5) of the 1992 Constitution and thus unconstitutional.

“A declaration that the conduct of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on 27th August, 2016 by which the GJA, at its 21st Awards ceremony, gave the “Overall Best Journalist of the Year 2015 Award” to Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his exposé on so-called judicial bribery and corruption when cases are pending in the Supreme Court and the High Court over the subject matter of the exposé on the so-called judicial bribery and corruption amounts to contempt of court pursuant to articles 19 (12) and 126 (2) of the 1992 Constitution,” are also being sought by the plaintiffs.

With respect to Anas, the plaintiffs want the court to declare that the plaintiffs never demanded for any money from Anas to influence their decisions in any cases pending before them.

They further want the court to declare that the audio-visual recordings and transcripts which showed the judges allegedly taking bribes were fraudulently and unlawfully obtained by Anas.

They also want general damages for invasion of privacy against Anas and additional punitive damages against him for invading their privacy.

Additional reliefs

Other reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs are general damages for defamation against Anas, aggravated damages for the malicious and fraudulent recordings, publication and circulation of audio-visual recordings and exemplary damages against the reckless publications and circulation of the said audio-visual recordings.

“Compensatory damages for the damage done to the plaintiffs’ reputation, a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing any further malicious, unlawful and defamatory material about the plaintiffs and costs, including legal fees,” are being requested for by the plaintiffs.

 

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