Anas shares note from the past: How NPP reacted to his work in 2011

BY: Graphic.com.gh

Undercover investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has dug into his archives to produce a link to a statement issued in 2011 by the then opposition New Patriotic Party commending him and recommending his work to uncover corruption.

The statement, published then by Ghanaweb, has the party recommending “Mr. Anas for high national honour.”

He shares the link against the backdrop that the government of the NPP now says it would subject the raw footage of Anas’ latest undercover work, Galamsey Fraud (Part 1) to scrutiny in order to proceed on any action against anyone found to have solicited for money or taken bribes to circumvent laid down procedures or engaged in any corrupt act.

Read the statement below;

NPP's Press Statement On Anas’ Tema Port Expose

Government’s Reaction To Anas’ Work Is Scandalous

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) salutes Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas, of the New Crusading Guide, for the latest work on exposing corruption in our public administration, specifically at the Tema Port.

Mr Anas’ investigative work, has ranged from exposing malpractices in biscuit manufacturing, Chinese Prostitution ring, psychiatric care, rot at our western borders and his latest, rot at our Tema Port.

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The work has been characterised by long months of self sacrifice, diligence and such dogged determination as to win the admiration of all both in and outside Ghana and Africa as a whole.

The New Patriotic Party takes this opportunity to recommend Mr. Anas for high national honour.

However, ladies and gentlemen, we in the New Patriotic Party are disappointed by the reaction of the Mills-Mahama administration to the work of Mr Anas.

The reaction has ranged from lukewarm, to scandalous and shameful.

On the exposures at Osu children’s Home for example, the political reaction sought to attack Mr Anas integrity. His motives were questioned and his findings were said to be doctored. Eventually some committee was set by the respective Ministry.

The political reaction had been so discouraging such that there was hardly any collaboration/cooperation between the committee and Mr Anas.

Since then there has been no new policy initiative by the Mills-Mahama administration to protect Ghana’s children.

The political reaction to Mr Anas diligent exposure of rot and corruption at our Western borders has also been nothing short of scandalous.

Mr Anas had provided strong evidence, including audio and graphic video of officials facilitating the smuggling of cocoa, a criminal activity which cost the country dearly in export earnings.

However, just last week, as the President was preparing to make his visit to the Tema Port, the 14 security personnel who were at the centre of the alleged cocoa smuggling scandal, were being freed for the second time for want of prosecution.

The men were first released in June 2010. They were rearrested in July 2010 and put before a second court, only to be released again for the second time on the 1st of February 2011. This was not because the prosecution did not have evidence. No. It was because the Attorney General and his lawyers simply repeatedly failed to show up to present the evidence that a private investigator had painstakingly and dangerously gathered for them. All that the Attorney General had to do was to present the evidence and prosecute.

Ladies & gentlemen, can we say that the Mills-Mahama government is serious about building a better Ghana where the price of corruption is high and unattractive?

Ladies and gentlemen, despite the plethora of state security and investigative agencies, it took Mr Anas to conduct an investigation and provide evidence of official malpractice and corruption at our Western borders.

What is left is for these agencies and prosecutors to simply go to court with the evidence.

This simple task has proven to be too much for the Attorney General’s department and its collaborators.

It is almost unbelievable, but true. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a damning testimony on the commitment of President Mills and his government to fighting corruption and inefficiency in our country.

Mr Anas latest exposure, also backed by extensive audio and graphic video evidence, is on rot, corruption and inefficiency at the Tema Port. The official reaction seems to be following the same lines of harangues and exhortations from the Presidency and other officials that is not followed by concrete action.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is instructive to note that after the exposure of the rot of at our Western borders, which also involved custom officers, the President on Wednesday April 7th went to the Tema Port. We all remember reports of people taking to their heels. On that occasion the President engaged in harangues and exhortations directed at customs officials.

After Mr Anas expose of the rot at Tema Port itself, we have all seen the President at the Tema Port again, engaging in the same angry harangues and exhortations at customs officials once again.

It is clear from the President’s harangues that the story is the same as it has been for a long time.

The President says that “every day we hear of reports of bribe taking....” and that people go to work at customs and within “three years” are putting up “buildings”.

Ladies and gentlemen, so it is obvious that the President knows all about the daily happenings at the Tema Port. It is therefore most curious that the President would say that he was waiting for the Anas’ video before he would act?

And as for officials putting up houses within 3 years, we would like to bring to the President’s attention that there are also several reports of political appointees in his government putting up houses within 2 years which have not been investigated. Do political appointees earn enough to put up houses in 2 years as is being reported?

The President’s appeal to the Judiciary is also very curious.

We would like to point out to the President, with the greatest of respect that the Judiciary can only convict on the basis of ample evidence. Indeed President Mills himself has stated that allegations must be supported by evidence.

But even when such evidence is so providently available, such as in Mr Anas’ work, if the Attorney General’s Department would not go to the court to present the evidence, then the Judiciary may not be able to hand down convictions. Should the President not be rather focussing his anger on his Attorney General?

The President also called for CEPS officials to be made to fulfil Assets Declaration Requirements.

Ladies and Gents, it is entirely within the remit of the government to secure the necessary legal requirements. The Presidency should move from calls to action.

The President at Tema also sought to encourage the giving of gifts to CEPS officials. Where will the President draw the line between gifts and bribes?

The President further issued a warning, (or is it a clarion call?) to officials at our Aflao border and at the DVLA.

Instead of telling us of actions that he has taken (if any) he rather chose to announce his future surprise visit.

It is most extraordinary to expect that the officials after this open alert would be waiting for the President to visit then and catch them red-handed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is also a very sad commentary that operatives at the level of National Security, sent to Tema to be ‘Watchmen’, were identified in the video evidence also engaged in bribe taking.

For exasperation, the President asks the question “who watches the watchman”?

It is our humble view that the chief watchman is the President. He has the executive mandate. It will be recalled that in 2002 the Kufour administration implemented the GCNET system to replace the old system that had been in place and was bereft with corruption. By 2005, the then government further implemented the computerised vehicle clearing system that sought to cut down on the human handling of the process and thereby curb corruption.

The buck stops with him, and he must act now. The reaction so far is as if whenever any new video evidence emerges from Mr Anas, the government feels compelled to make some exhortations and shortly after recoils and goes back to sleep until it is awoken by another Anas exposure.

This kind of reaction gives the definite impression that the government is not committed to fighting and abuses in our system.

Ladies and gentlemen, The New Patriotic Party would introduce a policy for a crack team of undercover investigators which would make the kind of investigative work being commendably undertaken by Mr Anas, a core aspect of the work of public institutions being mandated to fight corruption in public places.

Thank you.