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Opinions of Friday, 9 August 2019

Columnist: Edward Adeti

I Will not Die Without a Word

I do not know how much of my time is left on earth. So, let me say this before you miss the opportunity. Before and after my house was broken into this year following my exposé about some rot in the justice system, I received some warning signs about a looming tragedy.

When a man fails to tap a warning from the whisper of the wind, the gods may speak to him through dreams. A relative called me one afternoon on the telephone to know where I was. I mentioned my location. Minutes after she had hung up, she came to the office.

She took a seat in a chair facing where I was sitting. She wanted to tell me something but I could see that she did not know how to start. She was in an unusual mood. As she hesitated, I pushed her by asking what was happening.

“I dreamt you died,” she bared her soul. “I have been worried since I woke up this morning.”

We spent the following one minute looking at each other in silence— a dead moment I finally broke with a smile that showed neither panic nor peace.

“In the dream,” she began to recount, “I was on my way home when Rachel’s mother (her friend) called me from behind. When I turned back, she ran to me, trying to show something to me on her phone. When I looked at the phone, it was news about you. You were dead and it was all over on the internet. Your picture was on news websites with flowery decorations around the picture.”

It was not a natural death. I was killed in that dream. The nightmare felt so real she mourned as she narrated it. Her grief, with all the real-life threats surrounding me, gave me an impression that the dream was a true forecast of a looming reality.

In fact, no nightmare had come so close and so strong both of us felt it had already happened and she was, only in the aftermath of the mishap, having a privileged conversation with my ghost at the office. She said it was so frightening she could not tell me immediately about it on the telephone.

The Dream I Had

Days later, I had my own dream. In that dream, I was assisting a child with a reading and spelling exercise at a public library.

When we were about to leave the library premises, the child told me he had a dream the previous night. He said a grieving crowd surrounded a box. A frame of my portrait leaned against the box but he did not know what was inside the box.

He said people were reading from a booklet in turn but he could not read a page from that booklet when it was his turn. He said he remembered the gathering was about me but I was not around. I knew what he was trying to say. I listened to him in reflective silence as we moved to the sidewalk of a highway. I woke up at that point.

I have received unexpected calls and people have come to me, including Joshua Asaah, a popular journalist with A1 Radio, telling me in private they have had some disturbing dreams about me. A number of concerned people, based on some plots and comments they have heard, look even more scared for me as if they were the target.

Whilst I may choose to believe or discount whatever the dreams may imply, they remind me of some people who received a premonition before they were killed or died mysteriously. Bruce Lee is an example. Malcom X is another. And many more.

Before Ahmed Hussein Suale, a key member of Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ investigative network, was assassinated, somebody had foretold that two journalists would be killed this year in Ghana. If what the seer claimed he saw is true, then, the next journalist to die could be me or any other journalist being tracked for stepping on some ‘untouchable toes’ in the line of duty.

Suale was slain in cold blood after a lawmaker had lawlessly incited the public against him with impunity as government watched in outrageous silence in this country. Speaking at the Media Freedom Conference in London recently, Anas stressed Suale would have been alive if government had acted on the threats that preceded his gruesome killing. Threats often come as a reliable forerunner, announcing the hoofbeats of an approaching death on a dark horse. That is the zone I find myself now. I have received threats, some of them from people who did not stoop to hide their faces.

When the EIB Network, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) among other organisations called for state security arrangements on my behalf, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, responded by tasking the Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Osei Ampofo-Duku, to put some measures in place for my security.

Moments after he had spoken to the commander on the telephone, the minister told me to meet the commander for further discussions on the recommended arrangements. Wasting no time, I rushed from my hideout in Accra to the commander’s office in Bolgatanga like a transfer-seeking civil servant desperately going to pick up an assurance letter. And I will say this without fear. The commander was indifferent. His eyes were glued to a computer monitor in front of him and his hand stuck on the mouse whilst listening to a troubled me. I left the police headquarters told only to call whenever there was a threat. And that was the security arrangement, all the way from the Ministry of Information. Anas hit it right in London.

Suspected Secret Plots

These days, I see strange cars parked yards opposite my office. On two occasions I have had to call a trusted friend to accompany me home. Each time I pulled off my phone to my ear to make a panic call in front of the office, the unidentified drivers ended their marathon wait abruptly and sped off at a suspicious speed. My few trusted friends are now my secret security guards.

On Wednesday July 17, 2019, what I believe was a spy motorised tricycle stood at the usual waiting spot for a questionable long period. In the middle of that long wait, a close friend came to me at the office. Whilst we were having a discussion inside the office, I just did not tell the friend what I was also observing outside. I just wanted to be sure of what I was quietly observing to avoid raising any alarm that would end up being false. The vehicle was around for an estimated two hours.

When my friend was leaving the premises on his motorbike unaware of what I was looking at, I took some risky brisk steps straight at the strange tricycle with a bold look as though I had picked out a criminal mission. I was getting closer when it moved and vanished at once. I saw the face. He wore an angry look. I made no mistake. I pulled out a pen from my pocket immediately and wrote the registration number down on my left palm. When you enter my office, you would see the number written on a press-cutting board.

Sources I cannot doubt have hinted me about secret plots some persons have hatched with some town goons and street scalawags. One of such plots is aimed at breaking the two legs that I have. Another one is to attack me and take away any investigative gadgets found on me.

A notorious leader in charge of a certain group of hoodlums is reported to have vowed a car would deliberately ram into me whilst walking in the street, kill me “like a dog” and it would be feigned as an accident. Many are the plots, and as they mushroom or multiply, the plotters keep revising them.

When Journalists Become ‘Lawyers’ for Culprits

This is the terror I live with. I do not blame the plotters much. An African proverb says the enemy outside can do you no harm if the enemy within does not give you up.

I have endured an overdose of the same bitterness-motivated hate and greed-driven betrayal Anas and Manasseh Azure Awuni have suffered and still suffer at the hands of some self-interested colleagues whose distorted mental programming and sole aim in this job are to grab fleeting wealth, feel good in mess, commune and dine with mafias and empower coldblooded oppressors at all levels with their media-borne authority and natural talents to continue to oppress the poor and to suck the state dry.

The war against corruption and injustice would be won with no drawback if we had no saboteurs within, emboldening the evil powers outdoors to harm the people and sink the state.

A public servant or baron who steals or oppresses the people is not the problem. The most dangerous person to the people is the media practitioner who backs the thief and the oppressor. Journalism is power. When a media person backs an oppressor— that is the worst form of abuse of power. Our mission is to fight for the needy. But now, the greedy have divided our front. Nation wreckers are taking advantage of the cracks we have created. How can there be media freedom when the selfish interests of some media practitioners are a barrier to the freedom of other media practitioners who are genuinely pursuing the public interest even at a pain beyond any gain?

I just hope a time will come when greed, unhealthy competition and envy will be shoved aside and a united front of journalists will execute their main calling together as one family— fight a common enemy and free the oppressed together. Perhaps, before that happens, we should first purge the mediascape of the ‘priests’ who are unworthy of the ‘cassocks’ they wear, those who are among us but are not with us.

Corruption has become so institutionalised it is becoming illegal to expose it. In a society terribly torn apart by ego and greed, the corrupt authorities and duty bearers want only the journalists whose reports bring investments. They do not want the journalists who expose how they misuse and steal the same funds. Then, they unify to crucify the whistleblower after giving the watchdog a bad name just to hang it.

There is so much injustice in the system— with frustrated people turning to early grave for solace, a chronic hunger robbing promising children not only of their looks but also of their books and converting them into talented criminals whilst some hopeless parents are on the brink of auctioning the children they love for survival regardless of who wants to buy— our concerns as journalists should never be how to target and pull down one another to the pleasure of a common enemy but, as our core mission demands of us, to be angry enough to make life worth living for all!

The Break-in at my House is similar to the Murder of Suale

Perhaps, Ahmed Suale would have lived longer if a lawmaker had not uttered words that could embolden some lawbreakers, who possibly were only waiting for such an endorsement, to go after him.

Perhaps, those plotting attacks on me would have some fear and doubt if some of my colleagues did not embolden them as they do by, for reasons that are obvious, openly and passionately telling them they do not support what I do.

I have never unfriended anyone on Facebook no matter what they have said. It is a strong resolution I have kept from the time I opened that social media account. But Albert Azongo, a manager and presenter at Yem Radio, is the first person and hopefully the only person I will ever do that to. I consider what he did so beyond grievous I simply would prefer a Nero for his slot on my Facebook friendship list. He is nobody to be mentioned here, but I am compelled to do so because there are other lackeys like him in many places who need to be told what they must hear in their own interest.

Not only did he display on air his strong dislike for me after my anti-corruption investigation led to Rockson Bukari’s self-overthrow from the apex of power but such was the depth of the bitterness that, also dedicating airtime aplenty to that sinister agenda possibly to trigger public anger against me, he hosted one Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, a fallen star who in the ballooning view of the public is sleepwalking into an abyss of a chronic credibility crisis like the honey which is just a blink away from losing its unique sweetness, and one Stanley Abopaam— a spokesboy of an oversized ego, a spotless reputation for telling confident lies, a well of saliva saturated with prolific propaganda bacteria and a fabrication-twisted mouth full of robust lies as an ocean is full of fish— in a studio to run me down.

I will not apportion much blame to Abopaam, a well-known fuddy-duddy and my number-one enemy in the region, on this. Abopaam is only efficiently fulfilling the pull-him-down evil he is born, possessed and inspired to do in disguise of a concerned citizen. The bigger blame here goes to Azongo and those whose mouths are full of a deceitful friendly laughter but their bellies are engorged with bile like him. If the wall does not crack its own mouth open, the lizard will not find its way in there. That is why Jesus Christ did not blame Rome much for his pain and passing. Jerusalem, his very own, he held more responsible for his untold agony and death.

Referring to the money-grabbing Judas Iscariot who sold him to the embittered Pharisees and the enraged Sadducees who handed him over to the Roman authorities, the virgin-born redeemer King of the Jews told an embattled Pontius Pilate in John 19:11, as he bled from the thorny crown on his head down to the severely bruised soles of his feet, “…the one who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”

The trio, who are friends of those hit by the anti-corruption investigation, exhausted their energies notoriously in that studio, telling lies gallantly without proof to demonise and portray me as a public enemy, a traitor of trust, saying Rockson Bukari took me as a son— when there was neither a thing like that nor any proof to back that lie; I have never even asked him for anything in my entire life— and I betrayed him.

Shortly after that programme, Azongo still wrote a story about the in-studio discussions—headlined “Rockson Bukari is a victim of betrayal, not bribery”— and ‘sneaked’ it to a like-minded partner who is running 'a desperate gossip blog' barely 24 months in existence to publish it. A reliable source very close to their clique revealed this to me. And after it was published, he also shared the link from that blog to his Facebook wall for the effect he sought. You could kindly search for that headline later and just read about these characters in that story.

But who among us is actually a public enemy, an ingrate or a traitor here? The one who rejected bribes to protect the public? Or those backing the bribe-givers on air and on the ground to suppress justice, to harm the public and the same country to which, as citizens, they have always pledged on their honour from the schooldays up to now to defend its good name under the banner of Freedom and Justice?

Perhaps, if that precious airtime had not been wasted on that radio station preaching hate and seeking to tell the public it was wrong for a journalist to expose a minister who was attempting to bribe him for an anti-corruption story about a judge to be dropped, the faceless no-hoper rogues who broke into my house after those hate speeches and intemperate utterances were made on that quick-and-dirty programme in disguise of ‘fair criticisms’ in shameful defence of a resigned minister and his associates would not have been emboldened to come after me and, as they did not find me or anyone at home, would not have robbed me, too.

Who knows the horror they could have unleashed on my loved ones had they met anyone at home? They could have both raped and killed anybody in addition to the robbery if they had chanced on anyone. My family had to relocate whilst I was at a hideout in Accra. That is how grievous it was and it got worse.

I least expected a colleague of his background would, for no reasons any sane mind can fathom or appreciate, bare white teeth in front of me and yet harbour such a poisonous bile in his stomach to stab me not only in the back but also in the bare face and call an obvious ill will a fair criticism! The heavens know what he has benefited from the many good seeds I have been privileged to sow in hard labour and in tears throughout my 17 adventurous years of stay so far in the Upper East region.

If he were a thoughtful being, he would not sponsor my misery for no wrong done him. It only shows how he is as thoughtless as a stone, just as his other popular name goes— “DJ Stone”. Indeed, the names people bear do affect their bearing.

I remember he called me one afternoon for an interview on that investigation. For two reasons, I declined to grant him audience. One, his proven hypocrisy. Two, he was not fit (yes, fit) to handle that kind of subject for an interview. He could not have asked any better questions than the well-seasoned broadcasters I spoke to on air in Ghana and beyond Africa on that matter.

And I remember I granted audience to some balanced colleagues in the region who could handle that sensitive subject better than he could have done— among such Samuel Mbura at A1 Radio. I just might need to say it here that Mbura himself should watch his steps just the way I watched him grow from a very humble child prodigy into one of the most hardworking, zealous and reliable broadcasters in the region. The sheep that walks with the pig is bound to develop a passion for excreta in the long run. Mbura’s future is just too bright to allow anybody to slowly format and corrupt it with an infectious bait as some great destinies have ended up derailed and aborted.

There are gifted and promising journalists I know who, torn between the devil’s mouthwatering table and their great destinies, unfortunately chose the former and, to the raw shock of the public, suddenly became lapsed advocates of the same freedom and justice they once defended with zeal. The change happened after they were drawn, gradually, into consuming the forbidden goodies spread out on the devil’s unstable table.

They are now singing a new song but deaf to the strange lyrics of same music, fallen but still claiming they are standing…like an electric fan, slowing down gradually to a halt after it has been switched off, but appears to be on because its blades are still spinning…spinning to a halt. A sheep that roams with a pig will learn how to eat excreta with passion in the end.

I had chosen not to react after he (Azongo) deliberately veered to that pull-him-down tangent in April and May, this year, using (or abusing) the media space at his disposal, until I heard just a few days ago that he was still stating it on a social media platform that he had his own conviction about my investigation as to the motive and its credibility.

I challenge him to go public with an explanation and any proof to back his conviction and claims just as I backed my story with incontrovertible evidence. If he needs more drugs to cure his deep-seated bitterness, he should ask the minister who has resigned, the judge who disqualified himself and the Shaanxi culprits for a candid clarification. And if he pretends not to understand ethics because of an ulterior interest, he should table his ‘belly’ before proper media experts to ‘dissect’ it for him. I welcome criticisms but not one aimed at covering wrongdoing and endangering the lives of a watchdog and his family.

I will not waste much time on him for now. I should address him more appropriately later. I have a lot of pebbles and rocks in store. This is just a passing comment. He has not pressed that button yet. I will wait until that time. I used to like him. All the left-handed friends I have and the leftie great people I can count —Obama, Clinton and so on— are very thoughtful. He is the only oddity I have seen so far. Some other colleagues, some I say, are doing same to me on this same matter. And it did not start just today. I will address them one by one when the need arises. I am not a weakling.

If the evidence-backed story was not true, the judge involved would not admit wrong and disqualify himself in the first place, and a minister’s resignation would not follow. The judge recused himself. The case has been remitted to another judge to handle. The minister admitted wrong and resigned. The President accepted the resignation. The Shaanxi officials who were directly and indirectly involved cannot defend themselves before the public, the media and the state interrogatory agencies. Why are some people wailing louder than the bereaved? Are they wailing because some plaintiffs or defendants can no longer sneak to a judges’ private residence or chambers again for any private meeting?

My Court Trials and How my Own Colleagues Backed the Culprits

It is so incredible that a journalist would expose wrongdoers in the interest of the public and some of his or her own colleague journalists would, for no reasonable reasons, even feel more offended than the wrongdoers themselves would!

It is bewildering how some media practitioners act as ‘lawyers for the culprits’ and, as they dye their mourning dresses with a deeper indigo than those of the bereaved at a funerary ritual, are also prepared to trek to the outer space to please the prodigal sons and daughters of their own country and, like a parliament of maggots dancing together in rot, feast with the nation’s wreckers and the evil weevils they ought to bring under the spotlight!

When an openly biased judge passed a questionable judgement against me some time ago in a defamation case over a certain investigation I conducted into the misconduct of a regional health director who unduly allocated an official vehicle to his wife at the expense of the nursing mothers and newborns in the region for whom the vehicle was provided by a foreign donor agency under a project, the speed at which some of my colleagues rushed openly to the court for copies of the judgement, trust me, was more overwhelming than the speed at which people often rush to a road-traffic accident scene!

So voracious was the appetite they showed as they demanded for the judgement copies that a court registrar strongly warned me later against some of my colleagues and proposed I relocate without looking back like Lot’s wife. They grabbed copies of the judgement and, to the pleasure of an evil gang behind my court trial, spread the news everywhere in the dailies, on air and on the internet with an aim to clip my wings.

The official vehicle in question was returned to the Ghana Health Service’s pool (with video evidence to show) after I questioned the health director during the investigation and prior to the court action initiated by his wife and some members of group backing her husband. In their agenda and attempt to pull down a colleague for whatever motivation, those media practitioners never mentioned in their reports how my investigation saved that project pickup (with registration number GN 3439 12) from being taken away by that director from the deprived nursing mothers and newborns for whose cause it was delivered by a donor.

But I still trusted them until one aberrant lecturer stormed my office one day and assaulted me verbally and physically for exposing some harm some members of his association were doing to the region. And for reporting the assault in the news, the assaulter sued me for defamation. And, again, some journalists backed him, with a prominent colleague pressman in the region standing as a witness for him against me in court. But to my dismay, my close friends and I have waited for eternity for the same colleague journalists, who were also seriously monitoring the proceedings of the second case in the hope that it would also go against me, to air or publish it after I won that case against the vindictive lecturer.

That case I eventually won ran concurrently with the case I mentioned earlier. The evil gang and their collaborators including some individuals I had helped, through a silent image-smearing campaign, made it difficult for me to get a lawyer in the region. I recall my second child was seriously ill when the bailiff brought the writ to me in the house and I did not even have enough to take care of the child let alone to engage a lawyer to file just a statement of defence in court for me. I told the bailiff in grief, “God fends off flies for a cow that has no tail.”

There were days the two cases filed against me at separate courts were heard on same days and I was so torn apart in the middle it was difficult for me to determine which of the courts to head to and at what time to do so. This is what I suffered at the hands of some members of BONABOTO and the media group that bought into their agenda. The cases ate deep into my lean pockets and swept all my savings away.

My young family and I suffered an amount of torture I cannot describe here without tears, yet through it all I carried the burdens of the downtrodden on my shoulders, fighting for their rights. I was in court for two years, sued by insensitive people who claim they are advocates for development; and whether I was sick or strong, I had to be in court and stand alone in the dock surrounded by people they had brought to mock me.

Many times, I used the little money meant for my family’s basic needs at home to pay some compulsory court fees and would return home at the end of the day with empty pockets to my wife and kids who were waiting to hear more about the proceedings in court after I had told them a bit of how it went on the telephone earlier in the day. For two years, I missed many news coverage assignments as I was in court whilst colleagues were busy in the field. I was in court, defending the investigations I did in defence of those whose need was threatened by somebody’s greed.

I hardly eat in the early hours of the day. Throughout the two years, I did endure hunger pangs sitting in the courtroom from morning till afternoon. I could not afford to walk out for a moment for fear my case could be called just after I had walked out to search for anything nearby to appease the nagging enzymes in my empty stomach. For two years, my heart bled, but I held my ground.

Some caring colleague journalists in the region stood by me. They stood by me; but trust me, I was in that great pain alone because I occupied the shoes alone.

For exposing rot, I was gagged and subjected to public ridicule. Some people laughed at me, including those whose relatives would come to me later to fight for their rights. At a point, a curse came from the depth of agony to the tip of my tongue— that all the friends I once supported and yet armed my enemies to shoot me down, things of shame would from that hour go after them and never depart from their generations. As my heart bled out, I tried to hold it back but I do not know if it slipped.

Many did not know that at the time I was fighting for the reinstatement of a wrongfully dismissed medical doctor, Dr Francis Ibrahim-Betonsi, and fighting for many others, I was also fighting my own battles all alone against the well-established enemies and their quick-witted collaborators. Through a war of litigation and persecution waged against me by some people who are not worth the names by which they are called, I became poorer because I was defending the rights of the poor and protecting state assets.

We will Retire when Corruption and Injustice Expire

The God, Who knows all the secret deeds of man, knows I have done for this region what is expected of a right-thinking man, not holding anything back from anyone, young or old.

Jesus Christ said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. But when they know what they do, it can really be difficult to forgive them.

They say a lot of things they know are not true and which some will not bother to prove before they subscribe to a hate campaign and a secret agenda to eliminate a soul who is only doing the public good. Just do me a favour: whenever they say anything, kindly ask them for proof. The actions of some of my colleagues are lending strength to the plots against me, and if I end up maimed or killed, they would be cited as not just having a hand in it but also supervising it.

They deliberately make you look so negative without proof that when you are killed, the deluded public would say it is your own fault. The reality is even worse than what I have just said. Some of your own colleagues portray you as an outlaw, giving those who already are targeting you the impression that the law would not feel offended if they kill you because already you are an outlaw. The same appear at your funeral in black and red, not to mourn but to confirm you are truly dead and gone as they file past your lifeless body in false tears.

Even if I do not open my mouth to pronounce a spell on those who have a hand in all my persecutions, an inexorable curse is looming over their heads already— one that will trickle down to generations as the dew comes down to earth without hindrance. The wear and tear that eat a footwear deep down to its sole are awaiting them ahead. I have seen where food crops failed to live up to maturity even under the watch of a concerned sower. And I have seen where weeds thrived despite neglect. The rewards they deserve for the evil they do will locate them even if nobody sees their secret deeds and nobody remembers their open actions.

So many well-meaning journalists have supported me in the region, in Ghana and beyond. To them and to those who have lost their freedom in fighting for the freedom of the forsaken I want to say a big thank-you with applause. And to the many warfront journalists who are undergoing self-reconstruction in private I wish you a big comeback as a tree returns better and brighter after shedding its old leaves. We will retire when corruption and injustice expire.

I am particularly grateful to authorities at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, the GJA President, Roland Affail Monney, the US Embassy in Ghana, the EIB Network’s CEO, Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi (Bola Ray), Starrfm.com.ghEditor-in-Chief, Kent Mensah, and the Godfather himself, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, for all the moral support. Many other names in the Upper East region and beyond merit a mention here but for the want of time and space, and for the purposes of protecting some of them from the evil target, I will defer doing so.

To the Good Comrades

Joseph’s story in the Bible would have been meaningless if his own brothers had not sold him out. At times, our lives might just end up meaningless if those we trust never betray us.

Journalism is about knowledge and courage. There are ‘ordinary’ people in the street who do not even know that, by their passion for justice and commitment to reporting injustice, they are journalists. And there are some journalists in media houses who do not know that, by their greed and support for oppressors, they are disqualifying themselves as journalists.

Having a talent or PhD in Journalism is not enough. Passion and loyalty to the public interest is all that matters. And not having a talent or a PhD in Journalism is not a barrier either. Passion and loyalty to the public interest is all that matters.

Passion will bring you knowledge and loyalty will give you courage. To the champions of the public interest, you are a whistleblower. But to the reprobates, you are a troublemaker. If you fear, do not do Journalism. And if you do Journalism, do not fear. Apologise only if you have erred. Be strong as long as you are not wrong. Never let any individual or group force you into a retraction when you have done no wrong.

One induced retraction can cost you a thousand truths. In other words, one induced retraction (one ‘lie’) is enough to cast an indelible doubt on all the countless truths you have ever told, just as one apology for a true error can clear all doubts about any truths you have ever told. Great things always have their roots in every undeserved grief inflicted by an enemy, just as every omission will always trigger a great commission and a remarkable mission. Our work, our news, must not only inform, but also reform and transform.

And to handle any complex as you aspire and fight on, believe the advantage in the possession of those who confront you is not their making and the disadvantage you have is not your fault. As you get along, some enemies suddenly will become friends and some friends suddenly will become enemies. Just be strong and thankful always. Life will never be boring if you follow your calling. Do not seek out to please anyone who would be hurt if you expose those who rob the public or are against justice. Not even God has succeeded in pleasing everybody.

Smart criminals, in a bid to turn attention away from themselves, are always quick to point accusing fingers at guiltless anti-corruption crusaders. That is why I humbly keep encouraging the public to ask them for proof when such corrupt-minded critics, who pretend to be noble, allege. Our democracy surely would thrive far better if our communities had both a listening public and an evidence-demanding populace.

If we do not confront evil today, all the freedom fighters will be gone tomorrow; the corrupt powers will remain and, joining forces with their allies and stooges, carry on with their reign of terror on the defenceless. The stars are countless, yet there is enough space for each of them to shine in its allotted corner, to play its important and unique part in the galaxy. Let us stop pulling down one another. The care and concern we show for our country are a concrete cure for corrupt-minded citizens. I am not talking from a book. I am talking from an experience.

My Investigation was not Sponsored; I did the Right Thing

I am told some enemies of the public, in their very funny attempt to discredit the investigative piece, are saying I sold the tapes to some lawyers before I rejected the bribes.

I have explained on several radio and television stations why I gave some of the tapes to some trusted lawyers who would not be compromised behind my back— as evidence to confront the judge to recuse himself because he had soiled his robe with an ex parte communication at his private residence and could no longer be trusted to sit on that particular case. From last year up to now, these shameless detractors have not produced any evidence to back their false claims that I sold the tapes.

For how much would I sell tapes as compared to the Gh¢5,000 and a brand new motorbike they brought as bribes with all the other juicy promises of a better future they made? A corrupt-minded person would have sold the tapes (if the tapes were in demand), would have also taken the bribes and sat tight on the story. I did not take anything from anybody to influence my work and I boldly published it at the risk which my family and I now suffer.

Some have said the investigation was sponsored. By who? So many names have popped up without any concrete proof. Whilst some of the empty loudmouths are pointing at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who wants the governing NPP out of power, the Cassius Mining Company who is contesting the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd in court and some court registrars who were “unfairly” dismissed and wanted Justice Jacob Boon interdicted, other amateur busybodies and professional bigmouths say it was sponsored by some NPP supporters including Rockson Bukari’s bitter relative and popular contractor, Nuhu Mahama Akalbila, as well as some NPP big shots who vied for a ministerial position but lost it to Rockson Bukari.

Some even say I did it because of a poor head-teacher friend, John Yaro, who was remanded in prison custody by Justice Boon in 2018. I maintained it was not sponsored by anybody. It was an investigation motivated by the barefaced injustice in the justice system. If anybody contests it, let them come out with proof and convince the discerning public with their proof just as I came out with enough evidence to expose the judge and the minister. This is not a joke. I have said it that I did that investigation on my own and it is a part of a series of undercover investigations on public access to equal justice under the law.

If that very investigation was sponsored, I would mention it because there is nothing illegal about any law-abiding individual or organisation sponsoring an investigation into a wrongdoing in the public interest. What is wrong is wrong. Granted without admitting that it was sponsored, is somebody saying it was the sponsorship that pushed the culprits into the ex parte meetings they held with the judge at his private residence and prompted them to bring the bribe items to me to shut up after I caught them there four times? Where is even the credible evidence that the work was sponsored and sponsored by who?

The CEO of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd, from whom Rockson Bukari said he took that bribe Gh¢5000 for me so as not to expose the Chinese mining company and the judge as you must have heard on the second tape, is the ninth richest man in China and the fifth foreign investor in America, we are told. It is a fact we have always known since Shaanxi came to the region in 2008— eleven years ago. That popular mining magnate could have transformed my life with anything I might wish if I had agreed to hide their harmful secret from the poor public.

Some of the shallow minds also say I rejected the bribe Gh¢5,000 cash and the brand-new motorbike because they were “too small”. Those who know me very well know that I am poor, that I earn very little a month, that I have not received or touched a cash of Gh¢5,000 in my entire life. I am not ashamed to say it. I lost my sense of shame about how much I earn the very day I conquered the fear of telling my wife about it.

I remember when I showed her the bribe Gh¢5,000 cash before I took it to the BNI, we were running out of food in the house and my son was wearing a tight and torn uniform to school. I told her journalists were the last hope of any suffering community and that the world would be over from the very day journalists began to accept bribe in support of any form of injustice.

I am not used to taking what is not mine. Even from the little I am legitimately given I support those I am financially stronger than. Those who know me know this. If they had brought a trillion US dollars, I would have also rejected it. Millions of lives can be lost just through one act of a journalist accepting bribe or any form of inducement to keep quiet over injustice.

No amount of money can be equated to even just one life. I value life. I have passion and sympathy for humanity and nature. Injustice is a weapon of mass destruction, no matter how small it is. And Journalism is all about saving life. I am a journalist to my core and conscience. So, I will never take bribe, no matter or how small or big it is. We reject bribe not to impress but to address those who oppress no matter how they seek to suppress the press. I refuse to be rich at the expense of justice and the poor I am supposed to defend.

And I keep saying it— that if anybody has any claims that I have ever taken bribe anywhere, blackmailed anyone or extorted anything from anybody or organisation for whatsoever reason, the person or organisation should come out and, then, prove it. That is why I find it difficult to forgive anybody or any group who, in spite of my devotion to truth and public good, is harming the entire public with their strong fabrications and actions thinking they are harming me alone.

It takes Insane People to Bring Sanity into the System

I am proud of my unwanted poverty until God does something about it. And if He does not do anything about it, so be it. And if genuine riches also come my way through my hard work, so be it. I am not called to be rich but to be real. I am not called to be liked by the powerful but to be loud for the powerless.

We should always be guided by the fact that no matter how sweet or bitter things may be for us today, it will end one day. God gave everybody a good talent in the interest of humanity. He is going to ask at the resurrection how each of us used what He gave.

Corruption is killing people at our health facilities. Corruption is killing people on our roads. Corruption is killing people at places of worship. Corruption is killing people at marketplaces. Corruption is killing people everywhere. That is why some of us are angry. That is why some of us are ‘insane’, weird. It takes insane people to bring sanity into the system.

And if being passionate about the plight of the poor is what some evil men, people whose personal interest is what matters to them and not the interest of the public, describe as being rude, then I do not want to be polite. If pleasing the thieves of state funds and oppressors of justice is what will bring me peace of mind, then, I do not want to have peace of mind.

I am not a threat to the poor who steal because they are needy. I am a threat to the privileged who steal because they are greedy. I will continue to step on the big toes that stand in the way of justice because that is what I am born, called, trained and paid to do as a professional.

If I had wanted money, I would have listened to Rockson Bukari, I would have hidden that story from all of you, I would have become rich all of a sudden without you knowing the source and injustice would have continued in a deprived town where Journalism is not dead.

Before you accept to harm somebody for a fleeting gain, for wealth that will not last, for assets that have never accompanied anybody into the grave, think well, think deep, very deep, because one day, one day, we shall all sleep and our deeds shall determine where we will be in the hereafter. The poor must not cry because of our selfish passion. They should laugh because of our selfless action.

This is a window into the silent terror I live with. Of course, I still move about, with caution— like somebody walking naked in the midst of live wires. If anybody ever finds me anywhere, it means I presume that place is safe. It might not be safe anyway. I do not consider myself safe wherever I am until I enter my room at the end of the day. Nevertheless, in the thick midst of trials, even if I am too troubled and down to see anything, I will always look forward.

If you hate me today because I baptise you with water, after me shall rise somebody in this same part of the globe who will baptise you with fire. My young family and I have suffered in silence at several hands and I do not think I can forgive some of those who have a hand in it.

And if I am lucky to leave the region alive, I will squat and fetch a handful of soil along for those who paid me evil in return for the good I did for them without any ulterior interest. This could be my own tribute. Khashoggi refused to die without a trace. Why should Adeti accept to die without a word?