A Minister of State, Rockson Bukari has debunked claims that he attempted to bribe a journalist to drop a story about alleged wrongdoing of a judge.
In a press statement released to media Sunday evening, Rockson Bukari says Starr FM’s Edward Adeti went against media ethics and violated the law when he secretly recorded a private phone call between himself and the journalist.
According to the Minister, the call – which took place in late 2018 – involved talks of documents handed over to Justice Jacob Boon, who presides over the High Court of Bolgantanga.
Bukari said that Adeti wanted to report a story in what he believed was wrongdoing by Judge Boon, who knowingly let a mining company off the hook for engaging in illegal behaviour.
“Adeti sought to raise questions why the documents [obtained by the judge] 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 statement reads.
In response, Bukari said that he cautioned against reporting the story so as not to “hurt the reputation of a judge unfairly and without proper basis.”
The Minister believes that Adeti misconstrued his advice to mean that journalist should not report the story at all, and he thinks
Adeti leaked the recorded conversation as alibi against him.
Read more: Investigative journalism: The tension between privacy and public interest
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister’s approach by way of pleading with Adeti 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,” wrote a representative from the Office of the Minister of State.
But Adeti says he was not the one who leaked the tape. In a lengthy Facebook post written on Sunday, he wrote that although he did not release the tape, it is having a ripple effect and is a “tribute” to more damning ones that no one knows about yet.
“If you see me in a confrontation with someone, know there is an injustice issue somewhere. If you see me docked any day in court, know that I am standing trial because I am fighting some elements whose greed is a threat to your need,” Adeti wrote.
Read Edward Adeti’s entire post below:
MY LAST WORD ON THE LEAKED TAPE
I just hope this is my last word on this tape thing. No one should question why I recorded that conversation. I recorded it because of you— past, present and future victims of the injustices in our justice system.
It wasn’t that I didn’t need money when they brought five thousand Ghana cedis to me to hide that story from you. I remember my son (name withheld) was wearing a tattered pair of shorts to school at the time. It wasn’t that I did not need a better means of transport at the time. Those who know me in Bolga know that the motorbike I use is so wobbly I feel shy to ride it even at night. I could have taken those ‘gifts’ for myself and nobody would have known about it and injustice would continue to bleed of all you dry. This is not to court public sympathy; I don’t want that kind of attention. I’m saying this for someone to understand how the public interest is more important than any gratuitous personal interest. Injustice and murder are the same.
When Rockson Bukari pleaded his heart out, it wasn’t that I was coldblooded. As he was pleading with me on the telephone, I was looking at the underprivileged children, the hungry aged people and the frustrated young men and women who were bleeding somewhere because of the corruption and the injustice in our system. If I had to put courtesy aside as an elderly cabinet minister begged, I had to do so because I did not want you (the helpless) to beg for justice tomorrow. That is all Journalism is about. That is what the Rhythm you hear in the Jingle of Journalism is all about. Rockson was not my aim. Injustice was! Injustice is real. And you will taste it one day if you are not tasting it already!
The more you hate me, the more I do what you hate me for. I don’t need any love from anyone who loves injustice no matter who they are! The circulation of the leaked tape has, among other interesting things, also revealed people I least expected to stab me in the back but who are now stabbing me right in the bare face! If you stretch your ‘bloodstained’ hands to me tomorrow wherever we meet, I will give you a heartbreak rather than a handshake.
“Why did you give some of the tapes to some lawyers?” you ask. My answer: I engaged them to confront the judge in his chambers to recuse himself from the case, a demand he would not yield to without evidence (those tapes). “The lawyers, because they speak for one of the parties involved in the case, probably paid you for the tapes,” you guess. My clarification: the lawyers rather were afraid I was recording them, too; and their concern was rather about my security.
Besides, if I could reject five thousand Ghana cedis and a brand-new motorbike worth the same amount, for how much would I sell a small number of tapes I gave out as compared to the value of the bribe and the juicy promises the bribers also made? A thief would have taken advantage of the ‘opportunities’ by feasting from all sides with impunity. And if I had benefited from that investigative work, you would have seen some changes in me by now since last year.
I am not into Journalism for fame or fortune. Let those who support injustice, including the media-preneurs, continue to do what they do. They will surely answer one day for the blood of the innocent who suffer and die from prejudice.
If you see me in a confrontation with someone, know there is an injustice issue somewhere. If you see me docked any day in court, know that I am standing trial because I am fighting some elements whose greed is a threat to your need. And if I ever go to jail in the line of duty, it is because I want you to be free from the well-established oppressors and the retrogressive intellectuals who think they can always tie a rope around your neck and drag you to a ‘slaughterhouse’ at will. I just pray and hope that a time never comes when we shall not fight corruption and injustice only with the pen but with both the pen and the sword!
Finally, to those who dogmatically say I leaked the tape. In my entire life, I have never regretted anything I have written. The only thing I regret is what I have not written. I am not known for running away from my actions once my conscience was consulted before taking the decisions. I am an Edward, not a coward. If I leaked the tape, I would stand by it. The last time, I explained the reason I had held on to those tapes. I said it last year in a publication that some of them were not meant for the public for the good of the same public.
Some probably did not believe there were any tapes let alone to think they were ‘explosive’ as I indicated. Just one leaked tape, look at the ripples. But I tell you, that leaked tape is ‘a tribute’ as compared to the more damning ones which nobody has any idea about yet and will never be known because no one else has them apart from the source. In my opinion, the leaked recording is just one of the hit tracks of an incomplete album, released by whoever did it. I have not leaked any tape to the public. If I had got any mischief up my sleeve and had wanted to leak any tape, I rather would have gone for a more damning one. I did not leak any tape. But if you push me too far, too far to the cliff, I will not release a mere tribute hit track; I will release the kraken! (as unleashed in Clash of the Titans) Edward Adeti.