Court discharges all accused persons in Shaanxi bribery case

Three persons charged for attempting to bribe a journalist with a motorcycle and GH¢5,000 to kill a story have been acquitted and discharged by a Bolgatanga Circuit Court on Wednesday.

They are Charles Taleog Ndanbon and Maxwell Wooma, of the Shaanxi mining Ghana Limited and Mr Suwaid Abdul-Mumin, former personal assistant of Mr Rockson Bukari, a former Minister of State at the Presidency.

In 2019, Mr Edward Adeti, Upper East Regional correspondent of Starr Fm, an Accra based radio station, alleged that Mr Bukari asked him not to broadcast a court  story involving a mining company and another before the Bolgatanga High Court.

The Minister was heard allegedly asking Mr Adeti in an audio secretly recorded by the journalist not to do anything to put the trial judge in trouble.

Mr Bukari subsequently tendered his resignation letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on April 29, 2019.

In the judgement that acquitted and discharged the accused, the judge, Malcolm Bedzrah, stated that the police could not establish that the journalist is a public officer and that per the law journalists could not be bribed.

Counsel for the accused, Joseph Awakpaksa, told the court that Mr Adeti who is a friend of Ndanbon requested for the motorcycle and the money after he had undertaken an assignment for Ndanbon and said the request could not be a justification of bribery  

Following the judgment, Mr Adeti had asked that the brand-new motorcycle be donated to charity, and that it was against his conscience and the ethics of journalism for a journalist to accept and use items given as bribes to cover up a story against the public interest.

“I’m not disappointed at all. The police sent the matter to court after I took the items to the BNI. I appeared in court as a witness. But the police prosecution, as the court put it, failed. The motorcycle should go to a needy Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound to support efforts to reduce maternal and infant deaths in the Talensi District where Shaanxi operates. I’m glad I’m sending these items back to society, to the less privileged.

“The GH₵5,000 should be used to procure furniture for deprived schools in the same Talensi District where the Shaanxi Mining Company operates, where some school children are found sitting on the floor for lack of furniture. That money they brought to influence me to harm the public is needed at those deprived schools where they (Shaanxi) operate. I prefer to walk. I will remain proud of my poverty until God does something about it. Posterity will judge every soul,” Adeti told observers and professional colleagues after the ruling.

Meanwhile, Mr Bukari has told the Ghanaian Times in an interview that judgement meant that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

From Samuel Akapule, Bolgatanga

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