Should we allow government to pay anas?

BY: Enimil Ashon
Should it be our concern, for example, that the Government of Ghana is a client of Tiger Eye? I think it should.

Two weeks ago, I objected to prayers by certain lawyers to be allowed to unmask Anas in court. I still do. Last week, I called for help to save one of Ghana’s foremost anti-corruption crusaders, Martin Amidu, from the possibility of falling on his own sword, or suffer from public loss of confidence  in him as a human institution. I stand by every word I wrote.

My words were not intended against his person. I felt, and still feel, that our former Attorney-General had no right to call Anas a fraud, or his methods fraudulent. Reason: he had, thus far, and so far, been unable to bring up evidence to substantiate this accusation.

I don’t think I have heard anybody come close to daring to suggest that Anas is infallible or that his methods are beyond question; like Mr Amidu and all of us, he is only human.  For instance, I have heard one video documentary expert point out some technical flaws in Anas’s filming perspectives and editing techniques, which could render the ent

Anas is too precious and too valuable to this country for anyone to be allowed to demonise him without cause. His single-minded crusade to unmask the corrupt is gradually making graft too costly to the perpetrators. The good news is the creeping fear by people in positions of responsibility that the person from whom they are extracting a bribe could well be Anas. We haven’t arrived, but it’s a good beginning. 

Since writing last week, however, I have had more time to reflect on the Anas phenomenon and this whole business of allowing the government (or the state of Ghana) to deal with a private spy. 

Should it be our concern, for example, that the Government of Ghana is a client of Tiger Eye? I think it should. Most of us did not mind that both the Kufuor and Atta Mills governments collaborated with Tiger Eye in its work against cocoa smugglers and customs officials.

For the “Government of Ghana” to be listed as a Tiger Eye client, however, is, to say the least, inappropriate, if not altogether improper.

He who pays the piper can, at any time in the course of the music, ask the piper to change the tune, switch to a E Flat instead of a C Minor, roar to an fortissimo instead of a pianissimo, or even order that certain words in the piper’s lyrics be expunged. Given this naturally occurring idiosyncrasy in all humans, will it ever be possible, for instance, for Anas to investigate Government – I mean, the Executive? 

It’s not really a question of who would be paying Tiger Eye to do that. The question is: Can a private detective be trusted to do an independent job on a government who also happens to be his client? Don’t tell me that the government is different from the state. In Africa, they are the same.

Should we mind that the Government of Ghana issues diplomatic or service passport to Anas? I think we should. It makes him a state agent. The work of Anas (not Tiger Eye), as an undercover agent is too valuable to the financial and economic health of Ghana for us to allow him to be a state agent, because once he is so designated, he loses all objectivity and neutrality.

Never mind that Anas himself is scrupulously honest. I have faith in Tiger Eye’s Mission Statement (on its website) that “Our ultimate mission is to uncover the truth wherever it may be.”

How very assuring! But Anas is human, though so far faultless. We should not get to a stage in our human or national existence when someone is deemed so holy that he/she cannot sin, or where somebody’s actions or inaction cannot be questioned merely on account of his previous acts of holiness. Who knows how far anybody can go? As Pastor Mensa Otabil once warned, “Everybody has a price,” and as Shakespeare said in ‘Hamlet’, “Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell”.

Corruption or graft is costing Africa too dearly. Of the 10 countries considered most corrupt in the world, six are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Transparency International. An African Union study estimates that corruption costs the continent roughly $150 billion a year.

That is why Ghana will forever be beholden to Anas for his work of exposing corruption in some state institutions. The question this article is

asking, however, is: Which state institutions? Cocoa smugglers, fine; CEPS, DVLA, great; Osu Children’s Home, good. But if that is the basis for the state’s decision to pay Anas (and no-one knows how much, or even the basis of calculation of the consultancy fees), then I propose that Manasseh Azuri Awuni of Joy FM deserves similar treatment.

His investigative reports that exposed the SADA rot, among others, were obtained at great cost to his employer, Multimedia Broadcasting Co Ltd, not the state, though Ghana, generally, has been the better off for it. Must we also give Manasseh a diplomatic passport?

Who is exposing corruption within the Executive in Ghana? How true or false is the allegation that the cost of state projects such as the Kasoa Interchange, bridges, schools and hospitals is often bloated? We need independent probes whose existence and composition should not be at the pleasure or behest of the or (any) President of Ghana. This is because we know that in Ghana, once the allegation is made by a politician of the opposite camp, you are sure it will NEVER be investigated.

As one Nigerian economist advised: "If you attack corruption, it's the best way to attack poverty."  

asking, however, is: Which state institutions? Cocoa smugglers, fine; CEPS, DVLA, great; Osu Children’s Home, good. But if that is the basis for the state’s decision to pay Anas (and no-one knows how much, or even the basis of calculation of the consultancy fees), then I propose that Manasseh Azuri Awuni of Joy FM deserves similar treatment.

His investigative reports that exposed the SADA rot, among others, were obtained at great cost to his employer, Multimedia Broadcasting Co Ltd, not the state, though Ghana, generally, has been the better off for it. Must we also give Manasseh a diplomatic passport?

Who is exposing corruption within the Executive in Ghana? How true or false is the allegation that the cost of state projects such as the Kasoa Interchange, bridges, schools and hospitals is often bloated? We need independent probes whose existence and composition should not be at the pleasure or behest of the or (any) President of Ghana. This is because we know that in Ghana, once the allegation is made by a politician of the opposite camp, you are sure it will never be investigated.