One of Ghana’s celebrated journalists, Cameron Duodu has praised the latest investigative piece of Anas Aremeyaw Anas that exposes corruption in the judicial service and described him [Anas] as very “clever”.
According to Mr Duodu, Anas through his latest work has demonstrated that he was one of the greatest journalists Ghana has produced.
In an interview on Accra based Citi FM on Tuesday, the 78-year-old former editor of the Daily Graphic newspaper described Anas as very clever and said if he were to be Anas, he would have chosen to show the video first and wait to see what the authorities would have done about it, rather than present it to them before showing it to the public.
That, he said would have helped to prevent all the hullabaloo and judicial technicalities that had surrounded the showing of the video to the public.
By choosing to go on a two-track trajectory by first submitting it to the authorities and then deciding to show it to the public makes it “dangerous”, Mr Duodu said.
Expressing his thoughts on Anas’ decision to premiere the video, Mr Duodu said there was nothing wrong with that.
“It is just publication. If he had published it in a newspaper, it would be the same except that in this case because of the technical nature of the evidence, you need a screen to show it.
“What worries me is that, Anas is on a two-track trajectory and that is dangerous. First of all he has given the material to the judicial authority and they are going about it trying to see what they can do with it.”
“Now he is going to publish it as if nothing had happened, this sort of thing creates a bit of confusion. If it were me, if I was the editor and you know I used to be the editor of the Daily Graphic…, I would say my job as a journalist is to place the evidence before the public.”
“When I have placed them before the public then I would expect the authorities to decide what to do with it, which means in this case I would have done the video show first of all, without giving anybody any tape, and then wait on the Attorney General and Chief Justice on what they will say about it.”
“But if you have given the thing to them, they are working on it and now you say you want to show it to the public, you brought the tail to the head, if they say, look, you have given the thing to us, you trust us, we are dealing with it in our best possible way, why is it that you are now going to show it to the public as well, in this spectacular manner.”
According to Mr Duodu, the lawyers would have cogent arguments to present about it.
“I think Anas has created himself a pit but it could still work out. Probably he has been very clever indeed and we will see how that will play out to the end.”
The UK-based veteran journalist described Anas’ latest work as “massive and I doff my hat to Anas, the conception of it, the execution of it, it’s all absolutely unique and of cause the fact that he owns a private investigator mechanism has helped him a lot.”
“To devote that amount of time and resources to a single story and executive it in this fantastic fashion, where the Chief Justice, Attorney General, all editors, radio stations and everybody has to take it seriously because of the compelling nature of the evidence, that is amazing and I think that Anas is one of the greatest journalists Ghana has produced.”
Asked about what he made of the multiplicity of law suits that has started emerging, Mr Duodu said: “My concern is that there would be too much confusion arising out of the main case that are being brought to the court over the exposure. Now some judges are challenging aspects of the matter and whatever is discussed would be appealed against.”
“What punishment should be given to them should be the focus and we should not be diverted from that. But if in the mean time, technical issues are being brought up, we haven’t even gotten into the matter and people are talking about entrapment, some people are asking for the journalist who investigated the matter to be cited for contempt.”
Mr Duodu called for an independent commission to be tasked to go into the matters. He suggested the invitation of a judge from outside the jurisdiction of Ghana to sit on the matter. This was because according to him, having had this evidence it was going to be difficult to trust other Ghanaian judges to sit and come out with a proper verdict on the matter.
“We should invite somebody from outside. We have commonwealth law in common with countries like Canada, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. We could invite some of these people to come, show them the material and whether they will advise us to get a special prosecutor who will prosecute before them.”
Supporting his argument, Mr Duodu said there was a precedent and that in 1955 when there was widespread allegations that members of the CPP government under Dr Kwame Nkrumah were making use of funds from a public body called the Cocoa Purchasing Corporation (CPC), and people wanted it to be investigated and the Governor of the Gold Coast at that time actually agreed that they could deal with the matter, a petition was sent to the Secretary of the colonies in London and he said no and that it was in the public interest to adjudicate such a matter so they brought in a judge from Nigeria and that was thrashed out in the open and when they finished people were happy.