“Behind every big fortune is a crime.” -Honore de Blazac, French writer (1799-1850).
“Some people in high places who have control over our national assets have made it their business to ensure that the people of this country do not enjoy the benefits of their God-given resources’’ -Kofi Akordor, DAILY GRAPHIC, Tuesday, October 29, 2013.
“From time to time, the press does take up the cry of extravagance publishing details of apparent waste, which the departments concerned are often in a position to contradict. More often, attacks are simply ignored, the civil servants well knowing that the newspapers will turn to something else in a few days’ time” -Professor C. Northcote Parkinson in his book, THE LAW AND THE PROFITS (1960).
On page 5 of The Chronicle issue of Monday, February 14, 2011, the paper published my article on Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas, entitled, THE ANAS CONTROVERSY.
Among other things, I wrote as follows: “Since 1999 Mr. Anas has scored some spectacular investigative coups in even more spectacular ways.”
“Risking his life, and under various disguises, exposures of Mr. Anas have included the use of maggot or weevil-infested flour by a foreign company to manufacture biscuits in the country.
“He has broken up a Chinese prostitution ring, as well as a Ghanaian one, in Accra. He has gone on a ship to Thailand to expose the inhuman conditions in which Ghanaians and other prisoners are serving their sentences.
“At one time, he posed as a prince to investigate matters that threatened our very security. Risking death, and possibly his manhood, Mr. Anas became a ‘patient’ at our premier psychiatric hospital and revealed the poor conditions there.
“Can I leave out his investigation of the Osu Children’s Home, in which he proved that the “white” outside of the Home hid a rotten interior?
“Then there were the exposé at the Elubo border of the Western Region, in the matter of the massive smuggling of cocoa to the Ivory Coast.”
Mr. Manasseh Azure Awine, the young, award-winning journalist, has also already established himself as a committed investigative reporter like Mr. Anas.
Mr. Awine’s investigations of corruption, plain stealing and fraud at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) have already put him in the lime light as an accomplished investigative journalist.
At the time of writing of this article, he has gone several steps up the ladder with his mind-boggling exposé of the rot at the Korle-Bu Hospital.
I ask this question of Anas and Awine, “Why bother to carry out investigations?” Of course, a successful expose can bring recognition, fame and honour to the investigative journalist.
In the 1960s in the United States, consumer crusader Mr. Ralph Nader took on the United States car-making giant, General Motors, GM for short, over the company’s car known as the CORVAIR. The title of Mr. Nader’s report on the car was, UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED. Mr. Nader’s crusade succeeded in forcing GM to recall the car, because it had many dangerous defects that could cause fatal accidents.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were two WASHINGTON POST reporters whose investigations into the infamous Watergate scandal eventually led to the disgrace of President Richard Nixon, who was saved from certain impeachment, when President Gerald Ford pardoned him.
The two reporters published the results of their investigation in book form entitled, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN.
Back home, the record shows the then newly-inaugurated President of the United States of America, on a visit to Ghana, lauding Anas for his efforts. Anas has also received recognition and honours.
If investigative journalism can bring fame, recognition and honour, it can also be one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous, branch of journalism.
For example, General Motors did everything possible to discredit and disgrace Mr. Nader, including digging into his private life. Nothing incriminating was found. Indeed, General Motors had to apologise to Mr. Nader.
In those countries with dictators who have no respect for human lives and the law, investigative journalists risk their lives anytime they carry out investigations, especially, into the activities of ruling political leaders, drug barons and other crooks whose corrupt or nefarious activities destroy their countries.
Investigative journalists have been murdered or tortured, or jailed, either after a travesty of a trial, or none at all.
In this country, I am not aware of any arrest of Anas or Awine.
Still, Anas has not been everybody’s Darling Boy’. Different people from within and outside the journalism fraternity have criticised him for different reasons.
He has been criticised for his methods that have included the adoption of names, roles, and even facial disguises. They say his methods are not ‘ethical.’
Strangely enough, some have taken exception to his investigations on the grounds that his exposes could lead to the criminal prosecution of those exposed.
He has been accused of getting paid for “an editorial job”, while he has been accused of being “in cahoots” with the government. Is it on account of possible hostility that has made Anas shun the glare of publicity? I cannot tell. What I can speculate on is that not everyone will shake his hand at a chance meeting. That goes for Awine too.
He has not adopted any disguises that I know of. But he can be sure that his work as an investigative journalist has not endeared him to everybody.
Take his investigation of that political “milchocow” known as GYEEDA.
After his investigation, what else was left to be exposed?
I commend Anas and Awine. I commend Mr. Malik Kweku Baako Jnr and his NEW
CRUSADING GUIDE newspaper for backing Anas, and commend JOY FM for also fully backing Awine. Unfortunately, I am sorry for both men and the media outfit that support them.
Those they have been investigating are among the very leading lights of society, those who cannot be questioned because they are too big, because they wield political power or control those who wield political power.
They are the ones whose big fortunes hide a crime. They are the people in Kofi Akordor’s article. Anas and Awine work in vain, because the corruption and stealing will not end.
Source: I. K. Gyasi/The Chronicle
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