If the hypothetical wheel of justice almost always grinds slowly, then the end result will be that justice will not always be achieved. In the light of this, some select few have taken it upon themselves to make sure that the wheel of justice doesn’t grind slowly but that it grinds at the pace which is required in order to bring the guilty perpetrators of injustice to book. World renowned investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has been ingenious in his quest to ensure that the cancer called corruption is done away with before it destroys the smallest of fibres within the body of Ghana and beyond. Anas has been impressive in his almost one man fight to rid Ghana and the world as a whole from corruption and other social cankers. His efforts have not gone unnoticed as the name Anas Aremeyaw Anas is now of global relevance.
As we await the premiering of Anas’ latest investigative piece dubbed Number 12, the outspoken member of parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong has somehow gotten involved in the somewhat unexpected “pre-bout” formalities. Of course, we expected the premiering of this video to be opposed by some “big men” but I can bet my last piece of A1 bread on this fact; None of us expected Kennedy Agyapong to be the antagonist. Kennedy Agyapong is also known in Ghana for his deep rooted hatred and intolerance for corruption and so it is quite unfathomable as to why he is kicking against someone who happens to be on the same page with him.
According to Nhyira FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah, Kennedy Agyapong is reported to have said that what he knows is “Anas is setting Nyantakyi up. Anas and Nyantakyi went to Morrocco and according to sources(which Hon. Agyapong didn’t specify), about $400 000 was spent of which Mr. Nyantakyi had $65 000 all in an attempt to sabotage him(Nyantakyi). This claim is very intriguing as there are a lot of loopholes and answers which needs to be found. First of all, assuming the trip to Morocco was true, in what capacity did Anas travel with Mr. Nyantakyi? Assuming $400 000 was truly spent, what was it spent on? Was it a way to as it were influence Mr. Nyantakyi to do ‘something’? Assuming Mr. Nyantakyi was truly given $65 000, why was such an amount given to him? We must note that there are no receipts given if bribes are paid and so the best way to provide evidence is to have have an audio or video confirmation of the payment and receipt. We may whine about the part which says that the giver of the bribe is as guilty as the receiver. However, we need to have the end product in mind. It is very difficult to bring people in high places to books and whether we like it or not, the rule of law in this part of the African continent does not work. It is rather the rule of influence and social connections that work. It therefore rests on the shoulders of these investigative journalists to come out with hard paper evidence which cannot be ridiculed. Logic says this; if you take a bribe from someone(irrespective of the amount or the level of enticement in the bribe), it is more likely that you will repeat the same behaviour. What is the probability that your first time of being caught on tape is actually your first time? Even if it is your first time, does it imply that you shouldn’t face the full force of the law? For undercover investigative journalists, it is up to them to make sure that they come out with the truth and so we must beware if we intend using our offices against the very principles we swear to defend. Who knows? The next person you might be negotiating a shoddy deal with might be an Anas.
Hon. Agyapong is also worried that with Anas’ methods, he might one day invade the privacy of people and start filming them in their bedrooms hence the need for Anas to be stopped. Well, if the “safest” place for a shoddy and corrupt deal to be negotiated is the bedroom, then I am not sure anyone minds if Anas Aremeyaw Anas pays an unexpected visit in the bedroom. We are scared about our privacy being made public. Wouldn’t it have been much much better if we had the same fear about our integrity being compromised? I do not think that we envisage Anas as one who has nothing doing and as such will be lurking in people’s bedrooms. Kennedy’s fear has got absolutely nothing to do with Anas as we are all prone to a breach of privacy especially considering the rate of technological advancement which has been achieved.
Hon. Agyapong said “Even if the FBI wants to secretly record someone suspected of murder or robbery, they seek permission before they go ahead with the recording. They seek permission from the court before they can tender it in as evidence. The court has to grant that. Has the court granted him the permit to show the video?”
Whiles this may pass on as a brilliant argument, we must realise that Hon. Agyapong has committed a fallacy known as the hasty conclusion fallacy. Let me remind Hon. Agyapong of an incident which happened in 2007. An FBI agent impersonated an Associated Press journalist in 2007 with the aim of entrapping someone who was suspected to be making bomb threats. The FBI agent cum “journalist” made sure the suspect clicked on a fake news link at which point the FBI uploaded a software into the suspect’s computer which was used to track and locate the suspect. The Association Press’ CEO and President Gary Pruitt was livid and with outrage released a statement saying, “Stealing our identity, the FBI tarnishes the AP’s reputation, belittles the value of the free press rights enshrined in our constitution and endangers AP journalists and other journalists around the world”. According to the New York Times, the FBI director, James B. Comly said that “the FBI agent did not violate the agency’s undercover policy by posing as a journalist.” The FBI director further reiterated that, “the technique used was proper and appropriate under the Justice Department and FBI guidelines.”
The point is clear that there are some cases which require the use of crude methods as well as out of the box thinking but what matters most is the end results.
I honestly believe that what Hon. Agyapong is worried about can be termed as subterfuge where the undercover journalist encourages someone to break the law for the purpose of securing a story as well as gaining prominence.
For one who owns numerous wigs, tiny cameras and prosthetic masks and once feigned madness in order to gain access to Ghana’s largest psychiatric hospital as well as posing as characters ranging from being a street hawker to being an albino body parts trafficker and has even dressed up as a rock so as to film cocoa smugglers along Ghana’s western border, isn’t it not quite absurd to relate these methods to subterfuge?
One thing is clear; Anas does not encourage or trap people into breaking the law. He only uses the greed of people against them. These are not synonymous in anyway. He enters into the world of the corrupt so as to expose the wrong dealings which are done at the hind sight of the public.
If Hon.Kennedy Agyapong is indeed not against the fight against corruption and in principle not against Anas who is fighting corruption, then he must realise that the methods of Anas are definitely not unlawful and that it would be better for us all if those in offices out of fear of a compromised integrity, live their lives without a hint of corruption because if they don’t, Anas and his Tigers will come hunting for them.