HAS MARTIN AMIDU SHOT HIMSELF IN THE FOOT? by CAMERON DUODU
Koo — what at all is wrong with Amidu? Our former Attorney-General has thrown a brick into the works of one of the most complex socio-political “structures” (or constructions) ever erected in our country. I refer, of course, to the exposure by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, of corruption which he had detected being practised by 34 judges and nearly 200 judicial officials.
Well, didn’t you hear what I said when the story first broke? I warned that it would soon lose “focus”, and that unless the current Attorney-General quickly “cut the Gordian Knot” by outlining what she intends to do about the Anas tapes, the story would soon be lost in a maze of technicalities and legalities which would take the focus completely away from the core issue of whether the judges and judicial officials corruptly accepted bribes or not – an offence which is criminal in nature and cannot be negated by technicalities..
But I didn’t think it would lose focus to this extent! I mean, Amidu is saying that Anas was not a fit and proper person to conduct the investigations!
Ahah! Loss of focus! Has Amidu bothered to answer the question: ‘Does it matter whether the person who exposed the corruption is fit or not?
Isn’t the essential thing to punish the corrupt officials caught selling justice?
Yes. But it isn’t as simple as that. Amidu, in his typically ebullient way, has flown so many legal kites into the air that I wonder whether he himself can keep an eye on all of them!
In other words, he has gone into over-drivel?
Maybe overkill! You see, the public likes to have a straight-forward story and be done with it. Anas disguised himself. (Straight-forward). Anas obtained access, with his disguised persona, to judges and judicial officials. (Also straight-forward). And Anas paid money to some of them and video’d himself doing that. (A picture cannot lie; so altogether straight-forward!)
But then, Amidu comes forward and suddenly, the waters have turned murky?
Yes! Very murky! First, Amidu alleges that Anas did not carry out the investigation into corruption by himself but was commissioned by the Government to do so!
And people are asking “So what”? If the end is to uproot corruption from the judiciary, does it matter what means were used? I mean, in particular, who it was that commissioned the investigation?
True. Amidu must answer that. But one thing he has implied is that – and here, he’s using the legal maxim that “he who goes to equity must go with clean hands” – he is saying that the company Anas used to conduct his investigation, Tiger Eye Investigations, is not properly registered as a private investigation company, but is what he calls a “dummy” company.
But is that important? Relevant? Registered or not – and as a former Attorney-General, he must necessarily care for the minutiae of legality at all levels; that is understandable –
I am afraid it is important. You see a private investigation company, according to Amidu, must be licensed before it can operate. Yet, he, as a former Minister of the Interior, knows for a fact that no such company has ever been licensed. Also, the Executive is not allowed by law to use a private investigator to investigate another arm of the government, malign it, and in this case, distract attention from the Executive’s own widely-perceived corruption!
And so those factors are not a mere detail?
It is a detail, yes. But in legal matters, procedure and processes – call them ” technicalities” – constitute an important element in the strength or weakness of a case. The substantive issues, no matter how strong, can stand or fall by what would be called “technicalities.” The most absurd things can happen in legal cases – for instance, if a small infraction, say a reply is not filed to an argument at the correct time it is required to be filed, the whole case can be struck out! You can say “the accused person got off on a technicality”, and huff and puff and scoff at him, but he would have been acquitted all the same. Lawfully! Indeed, there are many other other considerations – about admissible or inadmissible evidence, for instance — which a legal practitioner must keep in mind if his lawsuit is not to be thrown out.
But I understand Anas is a lawyer?. And also that he has a team of lawyers advising him? So why did he leave legal loopholes for Amidu to detect?
Probably Anas has been a bit drunk with euphoria. If you go about with a disgusting-looking mask on your face that makes it look as if your head has been vaporised into beads and strings, and you court public admiration as a sort of movie character who carries out all manner of investigations, then, even as the people adulate you, you might get careless and forget that in real life, others will be watching every step you take and will be only too glad to shine a bright torchlight on any false steps you might take. This is a free country, right? You do them, they do you!
So Anas should take precautions against leaving his fingerprints about, as it were?
Yes, of course. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Amidu has raised sophisticated issues as well about the judges’ corruption issue that move the case from the purely legal sphere to the political arena.
Good Lord? What now?
Hmmm! Amidu is also saying this: “When I was Minister of the Interior and also when I was Attorney-General, we were worried about some of the judgements that were given against the Government. We suspected that corruption might have played a part in making the decisions go against us. So the idea was mooted to secretly investigate some of the judges. But I left office before it was carried through. But when Anas brought out his expose´, a bell rang in my head and I said to myself, ”Oh, so these people did follow up our earlier idea to investigate the judiciary!”
And Amidu had been privy to how the Government had been “co-operating” with Anas?
Yep. He was in office when the cocoa smuggling investigation by Anas took place. He didn’t protest against the methodology used then. Neither did he protest , although he was in office, when the investigation into corruption at Tema Harbour took place. So he is within his rights to assume that the same methodology was used in the judges’ corruption case. Why he is opposing that methodology now is a different issue!
Is it perhaps because the investigation into the judiciary was far more important than the earlier ones?
Much much more. I think he said to himself (with the benefit of hindsight) “If the Government could assist Anas to uncover the cocoa thing; if it could also assist him – with money and security backup – to do the Tema Harbour exposure (both of which Anas has admitted he co-operated with the Government in effecting) then why not co-operation on the bigger, more sensitive and even dangerous issue of the judges’ corruption, too? The investigation, according to Anas, lasted two years. 500 hours of video footage was shot. That must have cost a pretty penny? Who bore that cost if not the Government? Is Anas a charitable institution?
Hmmm! But the Government has now said officially that it did NOT commission Anas to do the judges investigation?
And my name is Sugar Ray Robinson! When did this Government of ours ever tell the truth about anything? How many versions of the “Dumsor will end soon!” litany have we not heard? Has Dumsor ended? What did they say about the money pumped into GYEEDA? Did they admit it went to enrich a few people? What of SADA? And do we know everything about the Government’s relationship with Zoomlion? Or with the National Revenue Authority? Or the National Communications Authority?
Yeee! Koo! Did we go or did we come?
Ask again. There’s corruption all over the place! So, the question is this (and although I admire Anas very much, and support his effort to clean up the judiciary) Anas has to satisfy the public that he has not, as Amidu charges, compromised himself by allowing his investigation into the judiciary to be tele-guided by the Government, to fit an agenda preconceived by the Government to distract attention from the much more “gargantuan corruption” within the Executive. Amidu is even charging that he has information that Anas has shot footage about corruption by parliamentarians and other politicians, which according to Amidu, has been given to the government and which has not been released to the public for political reasons….
But Anas has categorically denied Amidu’s allegations in this regard?
Would you expect him to come out, being an undercover agent, and admit that he is doing underhand deals with the Government that is paying him? Isn’t deception the main ingredient of undercover work?
Ei – what kind of conundrum is this, then? The catcher of thieves is being called a thief?
Indeed! There are too many unanswered questions. Some people are being superficial – or perhaps cynical – and suggesting that Amidu is “jealous” of Anas and is shooting Anas down because he, Amidu, wants to be regarded as the only anti-corruption crusader in the country. But this is a man who deliberately stood up to the President (the late Mr Mills) who appointed him Attorney-General, over the Woyome issue. And in doing so, he knew he could be sacked. And, in fact, he was sacked. Is it easy, in today’s Ghana, to contemplate the loss of privileges by being sacked as a Minister?
No more bungalow?
No more officials cars
No more Government-paid household help?
Yet the man did not flinch?
Not only that – out of his own pocket, he pursued the Woyome case to the Supreme Court and WON the case. As we speak, the Supreme Court has asked the state to collect the C51 million from Woyome.
But the state has deliberately failed to collect it?
Yes! The state employees who arranged the deal for Woyome have not been charged, either! Now, when a private citizen spends his own money and tries to collect back public money for the taxpayers – money which the government elected to safeguard public finances does not appear to want to collect – it gives him a certain amount of credibility. Given a man with a proven record like that as against the others in the frame of this story, do you think his actions can be explained away with mere charges of “jealousy”?
No! That charge is ridiculous!
Correct for ten points.
So, in my view, it is AMIDU: 10 Government: 0!
Okay. And you say there is also a political element in the story?
Well, yes. In his long-winded manner, Amidu made a point which has been inevitably buried in the total amount of verbiage expended on the issue. He says the Government, by using Anas in the way it does (allegedly commissioning Anas to investigate targeted individuals and/or groups) is subtly creating a ”1984” society in Ghana. That means, the Government, as “Big Brother”, can covertly collect information with which it can blackmail whoever it wants to blackmail! But because it does not use state security agencies but private individuals, that cannot constitute entrapment or other illegalities. Now, suppose the Executive wants to pass legislation which the legislature does not want to pass – and the recalcitrant MPs include some from the Government own NDC party – can’t the Executive order them to pass the legislation or else…..?
My God! That would amount to establishing a dictatorship by constitutional means!!
Precisely! First, you use Anas to get the judiciary. Then you use him to turn the legislature into a house of supine, bleating sheep! Who would be able to protect a blackmailed legislature? Especially if the information the Government has collected about corruption by MPs is so explosive that the MPs would all lose their seats if the info came out?
Koo but would Anas lend himself to a scheme like that?
He may not want to do that. But he may not be fully aware of the Government’s ultimate agenda. based on what is called realpolitik. In intelligence, there is something called the unconscious agent. Such an agent can, from his own motivation, carry out “micro” tasks which a security service wants him to carry out, without ever knowing that he is doing their work for them; that what he’s doing ties in exactly with objectives they have defined at the “macro” or “global” level! And, as you know, so many of our journalists are naïve. They can see the trees but not the forest. Do you think, for instance, that Anas has properly thought through all the implications of, and the unintended consequences, that could flow from his work in exposing the corrupt judges? If Amidu hadn’t blown the whistle, would we even contemplate the possibility that the Executive had an agenda at all?
– Educate me, Koo!
Okay – put on your thinking cap and think deeply, for I am going to say something that will surprise and shock you: suppose the Government uses the dismissal of so many judges to pack the judiciary with its own lackey-lawyers?
Ahah! Awesome, ain’t it? Yes! Already, as you probably know, the Bar Association is litigating against the Government over the way two Supreme Court repeat Supreme Court Judges were appointed! If, as the Bar Association contends, the correct procedure was not followed and that those who were recommended by the body appointed by the Constitution — the Judicial Council — were overlooked and new names substituted for them; if such a crucial constitutional provision could be tossed aside by the President, and over such such important appointments, too, what guarantee do we have that in appointing judges to fill the vacancies created by the consequences of the Anas investigation into judicial corruption, the President would not again follow incorrect procedures?
Yieee! That would be an extremely dangerous situation! The Executive would then be able to control BOTH the legislature and the Judiciary as well? “Totalitarian” government?
Correct for one hundred points! That is the most serious conclusion to be drawn from the Amidu epistles. Yet, part of the public, unable to decipher fully, what it is that he is warning the country about, is railing against him.
Yeah, but he does cover too many grounds when he speaks on the issue, doesn’t he!
Do you know any lawyers who can limit themselves to short, concise, clear sentences?
Hahahahahaha! They make speeches! They play to the gallery!
Yep! The longer the speech, the better. Or so they think!)
But on a serious note, it must be accepted that a crusader cannot always expect the public to be fully behind him?It is only when he focuses narrowly on the ideals he wants to convey; only if he sticks strongly enough to a very clear and simple message, that eventually the dust falls from the eyes of the public and it comes to hail him as a prophet who saw what no-one else could see?
I do hope that that happens with Amidu. For right now, all people are concerned with is that he is giving ammunition to the corrupt judges to exculpate themselves. Some are even suggesting that he might have been hired to defend some of the judges!