Opinions of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Columnist: Rockson Adofo
The ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye Company are doing a marvellous job that they must be applauded for but their modus operandi is illegal. However, in Ghana like most of her sister–African countries, the practice of corruption by our politicians and those placed in responsible positions in the Civil Service is so overwhelming that effectively unique means regardless of their nature, are called for or are needed to combat the canker, hence the general public appreciation of the method adopted by Anas to exposing corrupt officials in Ghana.
By Anas arranging through entrapment to catch the said corrupt officials is totally illegal and I shall prove it in a minute. Before then, let me define what an entrapment is according to the Cambridge dictionary. Entrapment is defined as, “to cause someone to do something that they would not usually do, by unfair methods”. Is it not exactly the method Anas has adopted to catching the corrupt officials?
Does it not take two to tango? What does the law state regarding the offer and acceptance of bribes in Ghana? Are both the giver and the taker not culpable? And here is Anas with his team intentionally arranging to offer bribes as could be seen in the situation of the premiered judicial corruption.
According to Ghana Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29, as amended up to 2003) Section 145 as quoted below, whoever offers bribe is as guilty as the one taking it.
Fraud by Agents.
(a) any agent dishonestly accepts or obtains, or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do or for having done or forborne to do, any act in relation to this principal’s affairs or business, or for showing or forbearing to show favour or disfavour to any person in relation to this principal’s affairs or business; or
(b) any person dishonestly gives or agrees to give or offers any gift or consideration to any agent as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do, or for having done or forborne to do, any act in relation to his principal’s affairs or business, or for showing or forbearing to show favour or disfavour to any person in relation to his principal’s affairs or business; or
c) any person knowingly gives to any agent, or if any agent knowingly uses with intent to deceive his principal, any receipt, account, or other document in respect of which the principal is interested, and which contains any statement which is false or erroneous or defective in any material particular, and which to his knowledge is intended to mislead the principal;
he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
(2) For the purposes of this section “consideration” includes valuable consideration of any kind; “agent” includes any person employed by or acting for another; and “principal” includes an employer.
(3) A civil servant or officer of a local authority is an agent within the meaning of this section.
The law as quoted above is extensively self–explanatory so I don’t need to expound on it any further.
In the United Kingdom, any building or space that has public surveillance cameras called Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras must indicate such presence by conspicuously posting warning signs up to that effect. Failure to do so will find the owner of the cameras infringing on the privacy of the public and any recordings will not be accepted when tendered in evidence in court. The owner may even be prosecuted for not warning the public through the posting up of warning notices in obvious places to be seen by the public.
When criminal activities like theft is suspected to be taking place in an office area or a suspect is under investigation,, then secret cameras can be planted to capture the culprits. Such recordings are permissible, credible, and acceptable in the court of law. In the case of Anas, if he had planted secret cameras without himself or his agents entrapping the culprits (someone who has done something wrong) as it is known to be his modus operandi, I would not have any problem with him.
In any competent court of jurisdiction, his case will fall flat should he take on Kennedy Agyapong (Hon) for accusing him of entrapment, blackmailing (the act of getting money from people or forcing them to do something by threatening to tell a secret of theirs or to harm them) and extortion (to get something by force or threats, or with difficulty) if Kennedy provides credible evidence of him asking for bribes from some of his victims. It even suffices for Kennedy to prove that Anas and his agents arranged to entice some of the culprits as the evidence in the public domain already attests to.
Everything in Ghana is politicised so we can hardly tell the truth as it should. This is not helpful to our democratic dispensation and our quest to develop as a nation and a people. I have two more articles to come out with and then I shall stop writing about Ghana politics to concentrate on my memoire and the Kumawu chieftaincy case.