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Opinions of Friday, 4 September 2009

Columnist: Archer, Raymond

Raymond Archer Rejoinder

I have read with shock, a report emanating from one Prince Prah published on Ghanaweb.com which launches blistering attacks on my person and The Enquirer newspaper.

Most times I do not respond to people like Mr. Prah because from the tone of his story published on this website, it is obvious that he does not like me, neither does he like my newspaper, but I bear him no grudge for that because that is the beauty of democracy.

I must have been a best investigative journalist in Ghana, I might be the first African journalist ever to win the prestigious Global Gold Medal for Excellence in journalism, I might be the winner of the Natalie Prize for Africa, I could be Co-Winner for Best West African Journalist but the truth still remains that I am only human. That is why I will still accommodate lies and uninformed write ups such as the one written by Prince Prah.

I am sure if I walked to Labadi Beach in Accra and did the unthinkable by walking over the sea, Mr. Prah will still condemn me and say its because I don’t know how to swim.

First and foremost, I have never condemned Mr. Ben Ephson as stated by Mr.Prah. On the contrary, he and I remain good friends. I visit Mr Ben Ephson from time to time. It is up to Mr. Prah- the truth machine to substantiate his claim. He may choose not to do so, I will still not bear him any grudge because he is not worth any pursuit.

Secondly, the issue of Mr. Ace Ankomah is very simple. I understand that the story was actually written without a byline yet Mr. Prah pinpointed me for the slaughter and not the Editor of The Enquirer.

But let me explain the story properly: Our sources at the BNI had alerted one of our reporters about the conduct of a man who had visited their headquarters claiming to be lawyer Ace Ankomah and wanting to be granted access to a suspect who was in the custody of the bureau.

He was denied access on the basis the was a procedure for gaining access to a suspect and it had not been followed by the so-called Ace Ankomah.

Interestingly, not long after he refused access, the “original” Ace An komah was one of the first lawyers to comment on the arrest of the said suspect on joy fm. The BNI said when the suspect was asked to give the name (s) of his lawyer (s), he did not include the name “Ace Ankomah”.

The Enquirer basically run a story in which it reported that an "imposter" lawyer calling himself Ace Ankomah had gone to the bureau to flex his muscles. As we speak, the BNI has began investigations regarding the matter.

Mr. Ace Ankomah has also denied that he visited the BNI on that particular day in respect of the suspect. The BNI’s investigations might include hours of video footage of visitors to its premises on that day.

Whilst we await the results of the BNI investigations, Mr. Ace Ankomah exercised his constitutional right to a rejoinder which Enquirer published unedited in our last edition.

The next line will depend on the findings of the BNI. Mr. Ace Ankomah in his interactions with me stated that he could not wait for the findings of the BNI since he was getting calls from his law students as well as his colleagues. In this circumstance, It would have been most unfair for The Enquirer to deny Mr. Ace Ankomah his constitutional right to rejoinder.

Mr. Ankomah and I have had very friendly discussions on this matter and Mr. Prah's claim is a blatant lie.

On the matter of Prof.. Mike Oquaye, I wish to state that the matter is in court and The Enquirer stands by its publication which is backed by an Auditor Generals report. Unfortunately, the court has ruled that we discontinue any further publication on the matter until the case is determined.

This is not the first time The Enquirer has been sued but it is instructive to know that in spite of our hard hitting stories we have never lost any case in court. We are ready for Prof. Mike Oquaye and anyone else who wishes to go to court on our investigative stories.

On the issue of Ms. Shiela Sackey, The Enquirer has never been wrong, neither have we been proven wrong and I will leave it at that. That issue is coming up again and I entreat Mr. Prah to take some notes.

On the issue of calling me a mercenary journalist, I guess I will leave it to the people of Ghana. I refer to Mr. Prince Prah to ask Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor-and I am referring to a meeting held between myself, himself and a third party in his house in 2007. He is my best testimony of my integrity. The Enquirer still remains the most powerful investigative newspaper in Ghana not because of mercenary journalism but because of integrity. If Mr. Prah's government had listened to us years ago, most of their Ministers and functionaries would not be going through what they are going though today. All these events were foretold by us long ago.

NB: I would however suggest to the management of Ghanaweb.com that in view of the fact that many people rely on your website for accurate information, you may have to reconsider receiving and publishing news content from non accredited and sometimes mischief makers. I read a similar article on this website on Mr. Kojo Bonsu and felt it was so libelous and very unfair to him. This new development is very much uncharacteristic of the website. We all love this website and must be concerned about the integrity of news content. This is only a suggestion God Bless us all including Mr. Prince Prah.

Raymond Archer,