Exposing corruption with Ghana's hidden camera king

2018-06-13 20:58
 Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas poses during an interview with AFP. (File, AFP)

Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas poses during an interview with AFP. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Few people in Ghana would be able to recognise Anas Aremeyaw Anas on the street - but almost everyone knows his name and his burgeoning reputation as the country's anti-corruption hero.

The journalist keeps his identity a closely-guarded secret and on camera wears a trademark hooded tunic, his face covered by a veil of red-and-white beads.

His latest undercover documentary, "Number 12", was released last Wednesday, and as the start of the World Cup finals loomed, detonated with the force of a bomb.

In it, he and his team of reporters caught dozens of football referees and officials accepting bribes.

The head of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, was accused of requesting $11m to secure government contracts.

He later stepped down and apologised unreservedly after world football's governing body FIFA launched an ethics investigation into his activities.

Ghana's government is trying to tackle corruption, which its special prosecutor Martin Amidu has called "an invisible violence that kills millions without anybody seeing it".

Anas has already shone a light on graft in the judicial system.

Football, he says, is a symbol of a wider problem of pay-offs in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

"Football is a very powerful tool in telling the African narrative," Anas told AFP in an interview. "We have a decision to make, either save our continent or not.

"This is not just about football but any other issue that affects us and will create problems for us."

 Think twice 

Anas said despite not being a football fan, a tragedy involving a match between two teams - Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi's Asante Kotoko - always stuck in his mind, reminding him about decisions that cause a cascade of victims.

On May 9, 2001, 127 fans were crushed or suffocated to death as they tried to escape tear gas and rubber bullets fired by police trying to stop crowd trouble.

The disturbances began when the home side, Accra, scored two late goals to beat their long-time rivals 2-1.

"Number 12" includes footage of officials planning to end a more recent game between the two sides with a Hearts penalty.

Despite his widespread appeal, Anas has faced some criticism for his unconventional methods.

Filming with a hidden camera, Anas offers money to officials, who agree to taking the loot in what could be interpreted as entrapment.

In 2015, he used the same methods to uncover widespread corruption in the judicial system: more than 20 judges and staff were fired.

At the very least, his investigations may have influenced court decisions, or, in the case of "Number 12", sports scores.

"I do know that if any referee, any club official, wants to take bribe today he will think about it twice before he does that," said Anas.

 'Burned talent' 

The thick-skinned journalist said he has no qualms about using undercover sting operations to root out corruption in Ghana.

"If you're a criminal, you're a criminal," he said.

"You voluntarily went, you sat, you converse about the crime you were going to commit and you took money for the crime you were going to commit."

In the past, Anas has gone undercover in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals.

"Shaming those who engage in these practices is the best way and putting them behind bars is an additional benefit," he said.

Andrew Muchineripi, a South Africa-based football analyst, said the revelations in "Number 12" were not surprising.

The former president of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou, has been accused of accepting a $1.5m bribe to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

In April, the head of the Democratic Republic of Congo's football association was arrested on suspicion of embezzling $1.0m.

"It saddens me that many football officials across Africa are not in the game for the love of it but to gain financial reward," he said.

"I read all too often stories from around the continent about officials being probed over missing funds or non-payments. It's a curse that hangs over African football.

"The temptation to take money from the kitty, which should be going to those who play the game, seems irresistible for many African officials."

Anas equally said it was hard to overestimate the damage that corruption may have caused to African football.

"How come that Africa is not doing so well in the World Cup in order to get to the finals? Africa has some of the world's best players but how come we don't get there?" he asked.

"Do we know the number of talents that are burned as a result of money being taken and the wrong players being chosen?"

With Anas, perhaps Ghana is closer to getting an answer to those questions.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    fifa  |  ghana  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.