Friday, 30 October 2015

Ending Corruption Anas Aremeyaw Anas By STRIVE MASIWA

Ending Corruption Anas Aremeyaw Anas  By STRIVE MASIWA

__Ending corruption: It only takes one brave person.
Sometimes just one person trying to do the right thing can change the course of history.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas of Ghana is an undercover investigative journalist with a focus on exposing corruption, exploitation and human rights abuses. Last month his work changed the course of Ghanaian history when he released an anti-corruption film called Ghana in the Eyes of God, Epic of Injustice.
“The most powerful weapon against corruption is transparency and exposure,” says Anas, who was born in the late 1970s and first trained as a lawyer. He says the aim of his life’s work is to “name, shame and jail” people who hurt others and break the law.
Released in late September, Anas’ new three-hour documentary has led to the shocking suspension of seven of Ghana’s 12 High Court judges and 22 lower court judges who were secretly filmed in an alleged judicial bribery and corruption scandal which Anas investigated for about two years.
Money, sex, yams and even a goat were among the alleged pay-offs. In exchange, many robbers, murderers, drug dealers, rapists and others allegedly received shortened sentences or went free.
Anas notably works undercover, usually wearing disguises and pretending to engage with “bad people” who he then tries to film committing crimes.
__People rarely see his face. Even when he gives public talks about his work or receives awards, he hides it.
Could corruption charges against these judicial officials be true?
Ghanaians are now waiting for rule of law to take its course -- for all parties concerned. What seems to have come to light through Anas’ brave undercover work is 500 hours of raw footage of judicial corruption in action, allegedly involving some 180 judicial officials – judges, magistrates, court clerks, policemen, state attorneys and bail contractors!
In trying to block the screening of Anas’ whistle-blowing film, one High Court judge ironically argued that showing the film “brings the authority and administration of the law into disrespect and disrepute…”
Each of the seven implicated high court judges has been give a week between now and 11 December to appear before a special Chief Justice Committee. Anas will also appear for cross-examination, and some defendants have demanded that he remove his disguise when in court.
___The five-member Committee has contended this week that Anas is protected by the Whistle Blower’s Act. As such, he must not be unmasked and is also covered by immunity.
While not his first choice, Anas says he believes working in disguise is necessary, given the powerful and sometimes dangerous subjects of his investigations.
Acknowledging his own fear and the hazards of doing the work he does, Anas advises, “You’ve got to take intelligent decisions… If you don’t, you will end up losing your life.” (He usually works with a backup team of private investigators).
Notwithstanding the risks, Anas says he and all professional journalists have the responsibility to keep the public informed about activities affecting the health of their democracies, and their own personal lives. Colleagues say his work is driven by the belief that it is corruption that is holding Africa back.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas, I salute you.
Image Credit: TED Conference

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