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Regional News of Thursday, 22 September 2022

Source: Richard Asamoah

Captain Smart must apologize for calling Bagbin a thief - NDC executives

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

A group of branch executives of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Bibiani, Western North Region, are demanding an unqualified apology from Onua FM and TV presenter, Captain Smart, over Mr. Smart’s accusation of the sitting Speaker of Parliament as a thief.

In a statement signed by Branch Secretary, Mrs. Lucy Ayisu, the group called on Onua FM to fire the presenter if he does not do the needful.

“We add our voices to calls on the journalist to return to respectful ways and do the needful – render an unqualified apology to Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, for calling him a thief on national television without any proper basis,” the statement said.

It added that "we also call on Onua FM and Onua TV to impress upon their employee to do the needful or fire him for the shocking disrespect and unwarranted insult on the whole sitting Speaker of Parliament – the third most important person in this country.”

This demand follows an earlier lambast by a group of Constituency executives in the Greater Accra region who called out the controversial Captain Smart over the insults.

Mr. Smart, in a broadcast last week dug up portions of Auditor General’s report for 2000 or so, in which Hon. Bagbin, who was then Minority leader, had been cited by the AG for 66,860,237 old cedis that he is said to have received from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

Per the report, the money accumulated in the form of 18.57 million old cedis (about Ghc1.8million) that had been given to a group of women, the Sombo women’s group, to fund livelihood projects through the instrumentality of Hon. Bagbin, who was then Minority Leader.

Also, the report cited the GPHA releasing three vehicles for Hon. Bagbin and fueling same for him to use for an election campaign and when one of the cars was involved in an accident, the GPHA had to pay for the insurance and medical bills of the driver.

Claiming that the amount at the time is the same in value as today, Captain Smart lumped Bagbin together with politicians who have been stealing from the country throughout the history of the country.

“They have been stealing from us for a long time,” Captain Smart said.

This comment has since drawn condemnation with many pointing out that Mr. Smart’s interest in a 22 year old Auditor General’s report is suspicious.

“Like has already been pointed out elsewhere, why Captain Smart didn’t ask for clarifications from the Speaker before rushing on air to accuse him of being a thief?

"Everything about this story shows that there are pay masters behind Captain Smart’s unfortunate behaviour,” the statement from Bibiani Branch Executives said.

It pointed out that, “given the age of the report, it is probably the case that the accused has already been probed and the Speaker absolved of blame.”

It added that “besides, why is it that even though there are so many reports from the Auditor General, this one concerning Bagbin is what Mr. Smart is interested in?”

The statement warned that, “press freedom is no freedom to just insult our leaders,” and that, “Captain Smart’s style of journalism in this matter leaves much to be desired and makes Onua FM and Onua TV look like a joke.”

“If you seriously want to do a story on an issue like this, commonsense demands that you get the person the issue concerns to give his side of the story. You don’t do that and then you rush on air to call the person a thief.

This shocking behaviour only calls for an unqualified apology.”