I was making peace, not bribing journalist – Minister denies bribery story
A minister of state at the presidency Rockson Ayine Bukari has denied claims he attempted to bribe a Starr FM reporter to kill a story against a judge and the Shaanxi Mining Company late 2018.
Last week, DailyMail GH released a telephone conversation between the minister and Mr. Edward Adeti revealing how Mr. Bukari in a frantic and desperate effort tried to prevent the Starr FM correspondent from publishing a damning story when he was heading the Upper East region.
The most senior judge in the Upper East region, Justice Jacob B. Boon, was caught meeting officials of Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd – a party in a case before him – day and night in November 2018 at his residence.
The journalist Mr. Adeti confronted officials of Shaanxi and the judge with his evidence two days prior to judgment. Thereafter, he began receiving telephone calls from some powerful figures, who are linked to Shaanxi, pleading strongly on behalf of the judge and the Chinese-owned company to not publish the findings.
Daily Mail GH can confirm Mr. Bukari was one of the powerful figures who allegedly arranged cash inducement and other gifts for the journalist to kill the story.
In the recorded telephone conversation in possession of Dailymailgh the former Upper East regional minister was heard pleading heaven and earth with the reporter to shred the story.
However, Mr. Bukari in a statement Sunday said he was only playing a peacekeeping role.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister’s approach by way of pleading with Edeti is typical with his peace-making intervention approach to situations, and in this case, sought to avoid what he was informed was a misjudgment sought to be projected to hurt the reputation of a retiring judge in the region he had superintended as minister,” a statement from his office said.
Below is his full statement:
RE: MINISTER ATTEMPTS TO BRIBE JOURNALIST TO DROP STORY OF ALLEGED WRONGDOING BY A JUDGE
The Minister of State, Rockson Ayine Bukari, recalls a private telephony conversation with Edward Edeti sometime late 2018. He had returned a missed call from Edeti. He does not contest the contents of portions of the recorded conversation leaked to the public by said Edeti. The fact though is that that conversation lasted more than the 4 minutes 22 seconds clip of what serves his present purposes.
The Minister, having had a relationship with Edeti, made an intervention when his attention was brought to an alleged confrontation over Edeti’s alleged enquiry about documents allegedly handed to Justice Jacob Boon (Justice of the High Court, Bolgatanga) by a party to a suit involving two mining companies, Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and Cassius Mining Limited.
The Minister had been informed that said documents were delivered in compliance with the judge’s request in open court. He had been informed that Edeti sought to raise questions why the documents were not delivered in open court as he threatened a publication of an attempt to corrupt justice as he had been told by the other party that sponsored him.
The Minister’s intervention was therefore to corroborate and caution his young friend against hurting the reputation of a judge unfairly and without proper basis.
In this tape, Edeti’s comments and responses including that managers of Shaanxi had “hard hands” are omitted.
The Minister did not bother to know much about the demands of Edeti but only assured that he will inform those who sought his intervention to consider to get managers of Shaanxi to give him whatever Edeti claimed was denied him for previous work.
The Minister, in fact, advised his young friend against bribe-taking (as heard on this tape) and that was consistent with what he is publicly known to do, fight corruption in public office.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister’s approach by way of pleading with Edeti is typical with his peace-making intervention approach to situations, and in this case, sought to avoid what he was informed was a misjudgment sought to be projected to hurt the reputation of a retiring judge in the region he had superintended as minister.
The matter had nothing to do with Government and the Minister is unaware, and the unfortunate publication does not also show that Shaanxi committed any illegality or that justice was compromised in the matter.
Once again, this was not an interview but a private telephony conversation recorded in breach of law and journalistic ethics.
Office of the Minister of State – Rockson A. Bukari.
Dated in Accra this Sunday the 28th day of April 2019