It is now clear why Assin North Member of Parliament Kennedy Ohene Agyapong has been threatening brim and firestone over Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Anas’s Tiger Eye PI was going to expose Agyapong as considered by Kwesi Nyantakyi as bribable.
Someone who is a law unto himself in the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Arguably, Mr Agyapong was uncomfortable it was going to emerge he has surrogate ministers in the government that do his bidding and promote his financial interests. Tiger Eye PI would show how, at least, Nyantakyi alone sees our government and leading regime party members vulnerable to bribery and corruption. He couldn’t have been equally averse, though, to the exposing of the 14 referees caught on camera taking bribes for match fixing. After all, disproportionately many of the bribing attempts were done in the name of Accra Hearts of Oak and not his Asante Kotoko.
It remains to be seen if, indeed, Agyapong has a ‘True State of Number 12’ version to show. That is supposed to be on the 12; right? Any sampling you carry out of those that have watched the clip will show you that Ghanaians are quite convinced the tape content is credible. You get the impression people are enraged by the thievery in Ghana’s football and the resultant near-collapse of the industry. Poll opinions, and, you realise Anas Aremeyaw Anas is arguably the most popular person today in the country. Attempt to vilify what he has put together as GFA Corruption or the Kwesi Nyantakyi graft, and you are sure to incur onto yourself the wrath of 30 million people. Should Ken go ahead to, as he puts it, expose Anas? Must Anas be hanged at the gallows? Should he be cursed such that he will grow sickly till his very hair begin to peel off? Should Akompreko be acclaimed hero; Anas villain? I very much doubt that is the mood of the populace – certainly not for the moment. Only time can change the feeling and perception of the nation.
Another thing that is of discussion importance is the arrest of Nyantakyi caused by the President. Or, the complaint lodged by the President as a result of which Nyantakyi was invited by the police. Could Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have waited till after the premiering of the film? Should he have? What difference would it make? Can the sequence of events influence – in any way – the prosecution and judgement?
Nyantakyi is a tough guy. Take it or leave it! Nyantakyi is a ‘smart’ guy. Take it or leave it. Nyantakyi is bold almost to a fault. Recall the ease and readiness with which he returned from his travel abroad, when invited, to write his statement. Just listen to what he has released in obvious reaction to the premiering: ‘full of cat-and-paste to fulfill an agenda of mischief. Tiger Eye PI never discussed with me any match fixing matter’ and so he is not guilty of any offence. So, predictably, nothing like ‘guilty as charged.’ The trial will travel its full hog.
Into Wednesday night, those who tend to look at the fun side of virtually everything had begun impersonating Alamisi Amidu. They claimed the Special Prosecutor had tweeted that everybody caught on camera in number 12 should line up in front of his office, Thursday morning, before he arrived there. And that, they were not worth he using precious state resources to get them arrested. Fun aside, you wonder whether it will not be appropriate for the matter to be transferred to the Office of Special Prosecutor.
The CID may be allowed to route it through the normal prosecution at the courts; most people would rather Martin Amidu’s office prosecuted the Nyantakyi case, in particular, and the other suspects in general. What is the Attorney General and Government for that matter saying? Are the cases going to delay the way Ghana’s cases sleep and snore in the courts? Are the cases going to drag the way the Anas suspects in the Judges and Judicial Workers investigation is crawling? Ghanaians are in no mood for such disappointment. As Ghana Today warned last week, this country is at the precipice; at the verge of emerging stronger in the fight against corruption, or, having to give up the fight entirely.
The matters are too serious to be toyed with. Whether it is in the remit of Amidu, police prosecutors or prosecutors directly coming from the Attorney General’s Department; what is nonnegotiable is the need for serious, professional and speedy prosecution to be done. One novelist ever described lawyers as “utter rogues whose sole task is to oppose justice by disguising the truth with complicated legal arguments.” I make no comment on that: what I request is for lawyers for the state and solicitors for the respondents to attend to these cases with all the seriousness and professionalism they require.
The courts are yet to fully recover from the shame they suffered when it was confirmed in public that some judges and other staff take cash, yams, waakye, and sexual escapades to pervert justice in favour of those prepared to bribe them. The last thing the courts need is to be seen as still living in that quagmire. After all, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. If judges and justices can be proven to be certifiable criminals, what hope will remain for their nation? The courts – the panels to be set up by Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo – should be seen to be indeed dispensing justice. Where penal measures must be enforced, the sentences had better be punitive and deterrent enough. The kind of brazen arrogance, inordinate ambition, diabolic dream of taking Ghana hostage and the utter disregard for the future of this country exhibited in #12; if not penalised, will only embolden those contemplating to emulate such crimes to shift into overdrive.
Well, Nyantakyi is right…in one sense at least. Anas set out to supposedly unearth rot in Ghana’s Football. That is why May 9, 2001 was rather painfully played back. That is why so many FIFA, Class One and other referees were ‘examined.’ Unfortunately, many were tested; few passed: most failed the honesty test. It was primarily an inquest into soccer. Kwesi Nyantakyi’s insight into Ghana’s politics, game of cards, illicit business deals, alleged political leaders complicity – or Nyantakyi’s simple bluff – all dropped as a windfall. It was football, primarily; originally. What does Ghana Football gain from this heart-wrenching rendition of corruption and national disgrace? 1) I have said here and elsewhere that total destruction is the only solution: Scrap the Ghana Football Association 2) Consciously begin to rebuild the FA, Black Stars, Queens, Starlets, Academicals etc. 3) Build the local league. Take a lead in rebuilding WAFU, CAF etc., with the view to making sub-regional and continental football competent in competing with counterparts in Europe and the Americas. 4) De-emphasize the unproductive policy of global-trotting for players and coaches: grow what you have; use what you grow. 5) Give gestation periods to the schemes: sustain, monitor, evaluate and effect corrections.
Short of these Tiger Eye’s #12 will become one of the many shockers that will smoother into history. And, what you don’t want will continue to trend: you argue with your friend over Real Madrid and Liverpool; your children know full team and reserves for Chelsea and Manchester United, but not for Medeama, Kotoko or even Hearts – in spite of the recent notoriety. If the battle Kennedy Ohene Agyapong is carrying to Anas Aremeyaw Anas brings us nothing at all; what we shouldn’t miss is one catch-phrase: Ghana Soccer shouldn’t remain the same. I wish us well!!!
Ghana Today with A.C. Ohene
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