Last week I celebrated and commended police Constable Prince Forjour’s act of honesty to a generation that struggles to cultivate such priceless values. He was alone when the Stanbic Bank ATM ‘coughed out’ the ¢2000 cash. This low-rank officer could find a reason to pocket the money, but he refused to keep what wasn’t his. The Bank and the IGP encouraged his example by giving him almost six times the amount, including an investment.

Those who do wrong with a seared conscience not pricked by a sense of guilt, like to deceive themselves with the refrain “everybody is corrupt”. But Forjour isn’t alone in the police service. The name George Akuffo Dampare has brought such broad acceptance and excitement because he is an example of the values of hard work, fortitude and honest accomplishment. He joined the service at the young age of 20 as a Constable and without a degree some 30 years ago.

He kept a clean record of professional conduct and spent time getting an education to obtain a PhD and the highest rank in the service by merit. Some have schemed and sold their integrity to get the top job. But when it was his turn, and he didn’t get it, he prayed, worked and waited. Soon after I started working for the BBC while at LuvFM, two journalists approached me with bad evidence of news about a beverage giant and sought my collaboration to extort money by threatening a publication if the company didn’t pay a bribe.

I didn’t think twice about rejecting the offer, however tempting for a young graduate. So I know there are journalists without a scruple of principle or integrity, and they are not difficult to tell. If we were serious about the fight against corruption and criminalized unexplained wealth by all, we will find it is not only civil servants or public office holders and a load of politicians who are thieves. Multiple award-winning journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni rode a motorbike when he rejected all sorts of very tempting offers to drop investigations he conducted.

I was contacted to tell him to drop a story for a good car and cash in one case. I cautioned the elderly “respectable” man sent by a big politician never to try that on Manasseh. I politely got him out of my law office. Manasseh has risked his life to tell stories that those who hate the mention of his name today have commended highly and successfully made great political capital. He and his journalism have not changed.

If this retired Justice K.A Ofori-Atta – led RTI Commission had come earlier, he may have taken it along to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II when he joined names that evoke pure integrity, including Ashesi University’s Patrick Awuah and Alhassan Andani over the weekend to receive the Millennium Excellence Awards. It has taken young Manasseh to take journalism and the media to the coveted awards. The citation accompanying his award described him as “a treasured hero” and “a true patriot” for his journalism that saves the country money.

In its very first decision under the hand of its Executive Secretary, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, the RTI Commission ordered the Mineral’s Commission to supply the information requested by online publication TheFourthEstate at ¢1.90 pesewas by email or at ¢1.80 pesewas per page if it is supplying photocopies. They had demanded in dollars the equivalent of ¢6000 to supply the information. I wrote to point out their wrong, but they were wrong and strong, insisting on that amount without any shame. The RTI Commission’s fidelity to the law is an act of integrity that will be etched in history.

Dear public servant in charge of information generated with tax money, the law commands that if the information requested is about a matter in the public interest, it must be supplied “free of charge”. If it is information subject to a fee, you must charge only the actual cost of reproducing it for the requester. Again, be reminded that the RTI law is what you must always use because it overrides all other laws governing the supply of information to any person who seeks it. Please act in integrity in service to God and your country. That’s My Take.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI
July 24, 2021 – Issue#26