EIB Network’s investigative journalist, Edward Adeti, has donated to charity a motorbike and Gh¢5,000 delivered to him by the Circuit Court in Bolgatanga in relation to a bribery-related case in which he appeared as a complainant and witness.
An investigation conducted by Adeti into the justice system in 2018 led to the recusal of senior High Court judge, Justice Jacob Boon, from a case involving two multinational mining companies, the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd and the Cassius Mining Company, after officials from Shaanxi were caught at Justice Boon’s residence a number of times. The investigation also led to a Minister of State at the Presidency, Rockson Bukari, resigning from government in 2019 after investigative tapes revealed some attempts he made to kill Adeti’s story with a cash inducement on behalf of Justice Boon and the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd.
A move by the police to prosecute three people— Charles Taleog Ndanbon, Maxwell Wooma and Suwaid Abdul-Mumin— who were also said to be involved in the scandal failed after the lawyers for the accused persons filed an Application for Submission of Case. The lawyers prayed the court to discontinue the case on legal grounds that the accused persons and Adeti were not public officers.
The court, presided over by His Honour Malcolm Bedzrah, granted the application filed by the lawyers by acquitting and discharging the three accused persons. The court also ruled that the motorbike and the cash be restored to Adeti since the accused persons claimed they gave the items to him as “gifts”. Adeti refused to accept the items for himself, maintaining that the items were given to him in a bid to influence him to not expose Justice Boon and the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd as captured on tapes. In line with a proposal he had made in 2018 when he took the motorbike and the cash to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) after receiving them from Shaanxi officials for evidential purposes, Adeti donated the items to charity on Tuesday this week.
The beneficiaries include a health facility, a public school, fifty poor widows, a baby boy with hydrocephalus and a man who is on dialysis owing to a kidney problem among others. Authorities from the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service attended the donation event covered by a number of media houses. Adeti later revealed why he chose to donate the items and why the major beneficiaries were drawn from the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. The investigative journalist also sent a message to the Chinese mining firm and “the powers” said to be backing the company. The details were posted on his Facebook wall shared below:
THIS HAPPENED YESTERDAY
Yesterday— Tuesday September 15, 2020— I donated to charity the motorbike and the Gh¢5,000 (861 United States dollars) which were given to me by the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited and their collaborators in a bid to block an investigative story on the justice system from being told to the public.
More than a half of the cash was used in providing furniture for deprived schoolchildren who learn sitting on the floor against their will and the rest was given to Mrs. Gladys Ataabo (mother of a baby with hydrocephalus) and Mr Abubakari Sumaila (a man who has been on haemodialysis at the Tamale Teaching Hospital for a kidney-related problem). Fifty (50) poor widows in the Upper East Region also benefited from the cash. The widows were assembled by the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM) at my humble request. Each of the fifty poor widows, who cannot afford a protective mask on their own in the wake of COVID-19, was given a fabric-made protective mask.
I also gave out certified copies of the court’s ruling at the donation ceremony. Among the pictures uploaded here are two sheets highlighting the breakdown of the disbursements in keeping with transparency. Everything can be verified. Colleague media practitioners, who were present for the coverage of the event, also donated the money budgeted for their transportation to Mrs. Gladys Ataabo and her ailing baby boy.
The motorbike was donated to the Guborongo CHPS compound, a facility in the Talensi District. The health facility has no means of transport to reach pregnant women and nursing mothers who are tired of trekking long distances on their own to access healthcare services at the CHPS compound in the rural community. The motorbike is to support the concerted efforts being made by stakeholders to address maternal deaths and infant morbidity as every community hopes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health by 2030.
The furniture (22 metal-wood-made dual desks) was donated to the Sheaga Primary School in the Talensi District. The school is one of the public educational centres in the Talensi District where a chronic furniture deficit is taking a serious toll on the health of schoolchildren and academic performance. The needy schoolchildren at the Sheaga Primary School and the deprived Guborongo CHPS Compound are in the same Talensi District where the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited has been operating since 2008. The donations I made to the deprived souls and the underprivileged facility in that district are a message to the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited and the powers behind the company to focus their attention on giving the poor people in the host mineral-rich-but-deprived district everything they deserve and stop attempting to influence people with unsolicited “gifts” to have their way. Some of the schoolchildren in the district are sitting on the bare surface of potholed floors in the classrooms to learn under the watch of the mining company and the powers behind it.
It is not because I am rich that I have made the donations. I have made the donations at a time I have nothing, as close friends are well aware. At least, the public is also aware of the financial crisis and the fallouts my current employers (the EIB Network) are grappling with at present. It is only to make a point that there are some media practitioners who will defend the public interest no matter how destitute they are and no matter how bleak tomorrow may look today. For me, no matter the situation that confronts us, the public interest must take priority over personal gain. The Rule of Conscience is superior to the Rule of Law. That is my conviction.
I did it, and I will continue to do it, because of the poor who suffer injustice from the flawed justice system. I did it, and I will continue to do it, because of those who are denied access to equal justice because they are too poor to have ex-parte access to a judge for a secret bargain over the justice that is supposed to be open and free for all regardless of who they are.
I read it in a book that Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic Indian lawyer and activist, was so unconcerned about mundane things that the only property he left behind was his trademark pair of glasses, his regular white loincloth and the hand wheels he used in spinning wool. Media practitioners should put the public interest first, not their personal interest. If wealth will come along the way, it surely will come even big and it must be wealth honestly gotten. And if wealth never comes, it never was meant to be; it must not be forced to be. In my opinion, nondisclosure of sources and the public interest are so serious that even when media practitioners are captured by the enemies of responsible free speech and prolonged real torture becomes unbearable in captivity, they should prefer taking their own lives under that unbearable prolonged torture to betraying these two values— nondisclosure of sources and the public interest. And if corrupt powers and enemies of society do not rejoice and throw a party at the news of your death, you probably wasted the years you practised as a journalist.
It is not wealth that matters. What matters is to have a good name only in the good books of the good people— even if the good people are the minority. Who has ever died and succeeded in taking even a pin along from their wealth? Why should helpless souls suffer and regret their birth because of your meaningless greed? Has greed even ever helped anybody to live up to 200 years anywhere in the world?
Thanks to all the media practitioners, the beneficiaries and the authorities from the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) who were present at the donation ceremony. I salute you all!