Ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, says he will not confirm or deny claims by former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, to the effect that he has conducted investigations into the country’s legislature and the executive.
“We will not confirm or deny that. No self-respecting investigation body will speak to such matters, even if it is not conducting such investigations,” he said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
Anas also rubbished claims by Amidu that his investigation into the country’s judiciary that uncovered alleged bribery and extortions involving more than 180 judicial officers including judges, was government-sponsored.
Read the full statement
Tiger Eye PI has read an article written by Martin A. B. K. Amidu. Esq., former Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs, former Honourable Minister of Interior and former Honourable Attorney-General of Ghana, and titled THE GHANAIAN SENSE OF JUSTICE: CORRUPT JUDGES REMOVED, CORRUPT ATTORNEYS REWARDED AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS PROTECTED. We have read with particular horror, portions of that letter in which he claims that:
(i) our “undercover investigation that led to the judicial corruption exposé was commissioned by the Government of Ghana,”
(ii) we engaged in selective reporting of edited findings on the judicial corruption exposé, and
(iii) we have conducted and suppressed investigations into other arms of government.
These are untrue.
(i) Alleged Government Commission
It is a fact that in some of our exposés, TigerEyePI has collaborated with government agencies. When that has happened, we have been clear, explicit and upfront with those facts and we have made full, public disclosures of them. This is what happened in, for example:
(i) “THE PRESIDENT’S ASSIGNMENT” in which we investigated the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) with respect to fraudulent awards of contracts, metering, extortion etc., and
(ii) “IN THE INTEREST OF THE STATE”, which investigated cocoa smuggling and bribery involving Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the military, the police, the Immigration Service. In all of these, we stated that we had collaborated with government agencies, and this collaboration has cut across different regimes under our Fourth Republican Constitution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with collaborating with those agencies for the purpose of exposing rot, and we offer or make no apologies for that. And, if another opportunity arises for such collaboration, we will welcome and jump at it, as long as Ghana is the ultimate beneficiary of our work.
However, in the case of our recent exposé into judicial corruption titled “GHANA IN THE EYES OF GOD”, we had no such collaboration. We did not seek it, did not want it, did not need it and did not require it. Nobody in government commissioned the work. It was our own singular work and effort. It might be difficult for Mr. Amidu and some to believe that we could undertake such a gargantuan task, unaided and unassisted. But those are the facts.
Also, Mr. Amidu’s own timelines do not support his assertions. We conceived of and started these investigations, only in 2013. By that time, Mr. Amidu was no longer in office. Thus, granted that there might have been some idea, thinking or plans while he served in 2009 government, to investigate judicial corruption, as Mr. Amidu claims (and to which we cannot speak because we simply do not know about it), he wrongly assumes that our investigation is that which the government planned to commission. What is worse, he goes public with that assumption, disguised as facts.
Further, Mr. Amidu’s logic is particularly worrying and disturbing here. What he attempts to assert is that once a thing took place before another, the latter was caused by the former. What he fails to do with his problematic logic, is to show any causal link between the two. And he is unable to do so simply because there is none. Let us repeat that this work was not ordered, contracted or authorised by the government. And it was not paid for by the government; and any assertion to the contrary is false. In doing our work, we were neither party nor privy to any “acrimonious relationship between the
Government and the Judiciary.” If we were, we would not have sent the results of our investigations to the Chief Justice. We take strong exception to resent and completely reject the attempt to cast us as some agents of or pawns in that “acrimonious relationship.”
(ii) Alleged Selectivity
Here, Mr. Amidu alleges that there is “evidence” that some judges who were also offered and accepted bribes are still working because we have not submitted any petition to the President due to video recording hitches. He claims that we have notified the Chief Justice and Judicial Council of these. This is contrived falsehood, and we say so for the following reasons:
First, and for Mr. Amidu’s information, we submitted ALL 500 or so hours of our filming to the authorities, unedited. If Mr. Amidu wants to watch and verify that, he can apply to the relevant authorities to arrange a viewing with his technical experts.
Second, in the instances when we lost or were unable to procure footage, we still submitted the names of the affected judges (almost 20 of them) to the authorities under the cover of a separate letter, with a request that they should still be investigated. We have not made those names public because that might jeopardise the investigations that we have requested.
Third, Mr. Amidu must be aware that in the case of at least, ONE other judge, the Committee itself decided that the film we submitted in respect of that judge was very unclear and that in the view of the Committee that film we were unable to show the judge receiving any money from us. We have accepted that finding, for the time being, although we think that it will come up again when the clerk involved is finally questioned by the Committee.
The question that Mr. Amidu must be compelled to answer is this: “if TigerEyePI had sought to protect any judge, why would we make such disclosures to the Chief Justice and Judicial Council?”
The fact is that, in addition to submitting the film, we also prepared and submitted petitions to the President and the Chief Justice, for the removal of named judges in the superior court and lower courts, respectively, and also for the dismissal of the non-judge actors who were also covered or affected by our investigations. We did this because we did not want our work to be simply one that exposes crime and wrongdoing, but one on which action would be taken in line with the Constitution and the due process of law. We have named the judges and persons that we think were caught by our cameras. It is up to the authorities to decide, upon reviewing the film, whether we have made a case against the persons named, or in the film or that some other persons should be roped in. We have not engaged in any selectivity and it is wrong for Mr. Amidu to impute such wrongful acts to us.
(iii) Alleged investigation and suppression
We are aware of information in the public domain that we have conducted similar investigations into the legislature and executive. We will not confirm or deny that. No self-respecting investigation body will speak to such matters, even if it is not conducting such investigations. It is a fact that we have shown a 20-minute film to the leadership of Parliament. But that was a 20-minute cut of the “GHANA IN THE EYES OF GOD” film on the same judicial corruption expose.
Our simple position is that if we have ever conducted, are conducting or will ever conduct such investigations, we will bring our findings out when our work is complete and we are convinced that the time is ripe to put such information out. It must be borne in mind that such investigations tend to touch the lives of many persons and accuse them of crime and other illegalities. It is therefore very critical that investigators exercise a lot of circumspection and caution in such matters, and review any such investigations over and over again before making public disclosures, if any. We are aware that many undercover investigations have never been made public simply because the evidence would not support allegations of wrongdoing.
Be that as it may, Mr. Amidu forgets that TigerEyePI is a private organisation. We are not on the public payroll. Unless commissioned, we do our work by ourselves, from our own limited resources and with our own timing. And if anyone should know this, it should be Mr. Amidu himself. He has successfully exposed some wrongdoings in government. But the vast majority of wrongdoings in government remain unexposed. He cannot be blamed for the unexposed majority, and society cannot demand of him that he should pursue those from his own resources and effort. In the same way, Mr. Amidu cannot, and should not, impose on us a burden that is bigger than what we are able to bear.
When we were doing this work, and when we started seeing the results of the work, we knew that it would shock the nation. It has. We anticipated that one possible consequence of that shock would be all kinds of persons rising up and making all kinds of unsubstantiated claims and baseless allegations, either in support of it or to deprecate it. We also anticipated that some would attempt to claim some credit for it, or blame others for it. We were right. But the truth stands. This is our work, and we have put it out there. Let the chips fall where they may.
We deeply respect Mr. Amidu for his anti-corruption fight and believe that he has blazed a path worthy of emulation. He has won significant court victories, a badge of honour, earned through his sweat and hard work. In the midst of that fight, when he has been attacked by some who have things to hide, those attacks did not work, because he was able, in those situations, to back his claims with facts and evidence.
It is on these bases that we also challenge Mr. Amidu (and all well-meaning Ghanaians ought to do the same) to substantiate his allegations against us with evidence. He must back those unfortunate assertions with facts. And those facts or evidence must be more than simply trotting out the offices he held between 2009 and 2012, and the rather hollow assertion that “I therefore know what I am talking about.” We do not deny that Mr. Amidu is entitled to his opinions on matters, including our investigations. But he is certainly not entitled to his own personal and private set of facts, which are untrue anyway.
Anas Aremeyaw Ana