Feature: Once a Collaborator, Always a Collaborator – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Until 2009, when President Barack H. Obama, addressing a full-session of Ghana’s parliament, mentioned his name as one of the path-paving legends of continental African investigative media, I knew absolutely nothing about Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Still, I was extremely proud to hear the name of one of our own being accorded an honorable mention by the most powerful global leader of our time. The fact that Mr. Obama was also the first African-American President of the United States, added a more authentic edge to such global recognition of Mr. Anas.

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To be certain, until his historic mention by President Obama, I had not thought much about Ghanaian or African journalism. By and large, ours were patently run-of-the-mill government toadies. And it was for this reason why I was quite a bit disturbed to “hear” Mr. Anas sarcastically assert – by way of nose-thumbing at Mr. Martin Amidu – that he would “jump” at any chance in the near future to, once again, collaborate with the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in exposing corrupt officials and leaders in the country. In the recent past, Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye (I wish he had named his firm Eagle-Eye) Private Investigators Company, or Eagle-Eye PI, had gone under cover with the special approval of the President of Ghana – beginning with the recently deceased President John Evans Atta-Mills – to investigate “cocoa smuggling and bribery involving [the Ghana] Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS), the military, police and the Immigration Service” (See “ ‘Your Claims Are Untrue’ – Anas Replies Martin Amidu” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/9/15).

Well, I have read some of the salient aspects of Mr. Martin Amidu’s argument against the manner of government sponsorship of some of the undercover investigative operations undertaken by Mr. Anas. The gist of the argument of the former Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs, Minister of the Interior and Attorney-General is that the “collaborative interference” of the government in the private investigative work of Tiger-Eye PI, and Mr. Anas’ enthusiastic expression of unreserved willingness to collaborate with the government of the day in doing so, presents the patent problem of extra-constitutional vigilantism on the part of our constitutionally elected government.

Put another way, what Mr. Amidu is saying is that rather take the facile and flagrantly unorthodox method of using a private investigative company to deal with the perennial and seemingly intractable problem of corruption, and other acts of criminality in Ghanaian society, what the government ought to be doing is to be strengthening our law-enforcement and security agencies for the same purpose. Needless to say, using Tiger-Eye PI to undertake work for which the Ghanaian taxpayer already funds constitutionally mandated state agencies, however effective and/or productive, amounts to unnecessary wastage of public monetary and/or capital resources. The government could also conceivably manipulate Tiger-Eye PI by using the services of the latter to selectively target and blackmail political opponents and critics with whom the government may be at loggerheads.

Cast in a larger context, what we have here is “Big Brotherism” of the sort prophetically and so eerily depicted by Mr. George Orwell in his global literary classic 1984. The question that ought to also be asked is as follows: What if Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye PI begin to find it necessary to investigate the activities of the Flagstaff House, and the entire executive panoply of the ruling National Democratic Congress? Would Tiger-Eye be able to boldly and honestly undertake such an epic venture, knowing fully well that Tiger-Eye PI has on several occasions in the past been provided generous fees and undercover security protection to facilitate its investigations of other sectors and/or branches of government?

He may, indeed, not have been privy to the quiddities or intricate details of the judicial corruption investigations undertaken by Mr. Anas’ Tiger-Eye PI, nevertheless, Mr. Amidu is acutely aware of the NDC government’s pet aversion for its woeful inability in the recent past to strong-arm the judiciary into toeing the line of its executive will or whims and caprices. Then also Mr. Amidu has been an NDC insider of the highest caliber for more than long enough to be cavalierly dismissed as an exuberant, or an over-enthusiastic, attention seeker. The man has far greater credibility than nearly every one of his detractors; and Ghanaians would do better to listen up!

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