Exposing or eradicating corruption? - The role of investigative journalism in Africa

Anas Finder Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Investigative Journalist

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 Source: Michael Owusu Tabiri

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, one of the major duties of a patriotic citizen is “to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.”

(Article 41(f) Mathematically, exposing corruption is a subset of eradicating corruption. Exposing is like identifying problems/challenges that are part and parcel of human existence.

Until a problem is identified, finding /seeking solution will forever be a monumental fiasco. It is for this reason that we have to celebrate Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his indefatigable team for their exploits in exposing bribery and corruption in Africa.

Corruption is as old as Methuselah, and can be traced to the 14th century. Corruption is a canker and concomitant of human existence. What is of primus inter pares is seeking a lasting solution to the twin canker of bribery and corruption that has bedevilled the African continent during colonialism and after independence.

Corruption can be categorised into four, namely: political, academic, religious and managerial/masses corruption. This write-up discusses exposing and eradicating corruption concurrently from Africa.

Biblical evidence of bribery and corruption

“Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20).

In other words, Apostle Peter, the immediate successor of the Lord Jesus Christ,made it emphatically clear that no one could receive God’s blessing, power, anointing with money and that imminent destruction would overtake anyone who decides to seek God’s gift, power/blessing through financial inducement. How come some men/women of God are fond of asking people to give money in order to receive special prayers, God’s favour or breakthrough? Can this be described as corruption? The Holy Scriptures say everything is permissible/allowable, but not all things are beneficial and profitable for believers to do (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Academic corruption

Recently, a student came to check his exam result in my office. When he realised after checking that he might get grade ‘D’, he decided to give me a colossal money (50 cedi notes) and said: “ Sir, please take this for fuel.” Frankly speaking, it was not easy for me to reject the money. He nearly entrapped me, but I turned down his offer. Lecturers/teachers should not accept money from students either before or just after the examinations. If it is possible, let lecturers/teachers accept students gifts after their completion and publication of exam results.

Religious and political corruption

How many of our contemporary/current leaders in Africa, particularly pastors and politicians, can turn down financial entrapment or inducement and say destruction overtake your money and you? What is the difference between a man of God who asks Christians to give money before they are prayed for and a secular minister/ordinary citizen who receives money before awarding contracts? Can we distinguish between the money that Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi received from the purported investors and offering money in order to receive some miracles or contracts? If Anas had used the techniques/skills he used to entrap Mr Nyantakyi on our political and religious leaders, would they have been able to resist and overcome the temptation?

Prosecuting perpetrators of bribery and corruption

It is an indisputable fact that both the giver and the receiver of bribes are guilty of corruption and must be prosecuted accordingly. Does the Constitution of Ghana permit undercover investigative journalists to offer appetising money to people so as to tag them as corrupt people? I think the Constitution needs to be amended to highlight the functions and rights of investigative journalism in the country.

Sponsoring and spearheading investigative journalism

Who is qualified to promote or spearhead the works of investigative journalism? Is it lawful to allow the Europeans and the Americans to intervene either in cash or in kind, in exposing and eradicating social ills such as bribery and corruption in Africa? Can we purport to be totally independent when we continue to depend on foreign assistance to combat our challenges as Africans? Can’t we deal with our problems and difficulties devoid of foreign interference or intervention? Do Europeans and Americans allow Africans to come to their aid in exposing and eradicating bribery and corruption? I salute Anas for his visible exemplary achievements in exposing corruption in Africa, but if it is possible, he should do well to be wholly independent of any foreign assistance in carrying out his professional and patriotic duties as an investigative journalist par excellence. As the saying goes, a beggar has no choice. This is because sponsors, particularly foreign ones, can influence and determine the kind of projects the investigative journalists in Africa should embark on.

Propagating the findings of investigative journalism

How can we disseminate the findings of investigative journalism in Africa? It is highly crucial and advisable never to wash our dirty clothes outside as Africans or Ghanaians. Africans can be selective in disseminating the findings of investigative journalism by allowing only key officers such as the President of the Republic, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the Special Prosecutor, ministers of state, the clergy, the lawyers and the teachers/lecturers who can contribute to eradicate corruption to access/watch the findings of investigative journalists. That is to say exposing an individual’s corrupt deeds in Africa to the whole world is tantamount to exposing Africa’s corruption either consciously or unconsciously to the world to the detriment of Africa’s development.

Columnist: Michael Owusu Tabiri
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