A minister of state at the presidency, Rockson Ayine Bukari, must resign because “he cannot be trusted”, a journalist based in the Upper East region Edward Adeti has said.
Mr. Bukari has been caught on a leaked tape attempting to bribe the Starr FM journalist to kill a story against a judge and a Chinese mining firm when he was Upper East regional minister.
He denied the bribery allegation in a statement on Sunday, insisting he was only intervening.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister’s approach by way of pleading with Edeti 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,” a statement from his office said.
The journalist has reacted to his statement calling for his head because he peddled falsehood.
“I think the Minister should rather respond to the disclaimer issued against him yesterday by the Tongo Rana for delivering a message which the Tongo Rana now says in a press release that he did not send him to deliver to the journalist. With all due respect, I think the Minister should resign. How could you sink so low with a tattered statement like this! You cannot be trusted! You have demonstrated that you are not fit to be there!” Adeti said.
Below is his full statement:
MY REACTION TO A PURPORTED PRESS RELEASE FROM ROCKSON BUKARI, MINISTER OF STATE AT THE PRESIDENCY, AND WHY I THINK HE SHOULD RESIGN
I just read a press release purported to have been issued by the Office of the Minister of State, Rockson Bukari. If it is true that the statement is coming from his office and he perused it before it was issued, then he cannot be trusted with any public office.
First of all, my name is not Edward Edeti. The name of the journalist mentioned in that statement is Edward Edeti. The press release fails to cite the media house the “Edward Edeti” works for. I am Edward Adeti. But granted without admitting that I am the journalist the Office of the Minister of State is referring to as “Edward Edeti”, I wish to deliver a simple reaction to that statement purported to be coming from the Minister. I will take it paragraph by paragraph.
The first paragraph says I leaked the tape to the public. I did not leak the tape to the public. I challenge the Minister to produce evidence to back the claim. The same paragraph says the telephone conversation between the Minister and me lasted more than 4 minutes 22 seconds. I put it strongly to him that the original recording is exactly 4 minutes 22 seconds. When we appear before the police soon as he knows, the truth about the length of that recording will embarrass him further.
The second paragraph says I made an enquiry about documents allegedly handed to Justice Jacob Boon by a party. Throughout my recorded investigative interactions with the officials of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, I never made any enquiry about any documents allegedly handed to Justice Jacob Boon. I have my raw evidence on tape to back my claim that I never made such enquiry. I, hereby, challenge the Office of the Minister of State to produce evidence to back the Minister’s claim.
The third paragraph says the Minister was informed that the said documents were delivered in compliance with the judge’s request in open court. I don’t know if the judge ever made that request in open court and if he did, did the judge ask Shaanxi officials to bring the documents to his house where I spotted them four times on separate days? I also challenge the Minister to mention the names of those who informed him that the documents were delivered in compliance with the judge’s request in open court. The paragraph also says “the other party” sponsored the journalist. Did any party sponsor the journalist? What sort of sponsorship is the Minister talking about? And I challenge him to produce evidence of sponsorship. I also urge the other party to take the Minister on to back this particular allegation.
The fourth paragraph of the Minister’s press release says his intervention was to caution the journalist against hurting the reputation of the judge unfairly without proper basis. Throughout my investigative interactions with the Minister, his position was not about cautioning anybody against hurting the reputation of the judge as can be verified by the original tapes. His position and utterances were about negotiating with Shaanxi officials to bribe the journalist to drop the story as can clearly be heard in the leaked tape.
The fifth paragraph seeks to say the journalist himself said the managers of Shaanxi had “hard hands” and that the statement and some comments and responses made by the journalist have been omitted in the leaked tape. I have played the raw tape from my phone to friends and the police who can attest to the fact the tape is originally 4 minutes 22 seconds long and there is no part in the tape where the journalist is heard saying the Shaanxi managers had “hard hands”. It is the Minister himself who is heard saying “their hands are hard”. The tape is 4 minutes 22 seconds long and there is nothing added to it or subtracted from it. The telecommunication company that hosted our conversation will expose him when the case eventually arrives in court.
The sixth paragraph claims the journalist made some demands from Shaanxi managers for what was denied him in connection with previous work. I challenge the Minister to produce evidence that the journalist made any demands. I challenge the Minister to produce evidence that the journalist ever did any work for Shaanxi managers for which the journalist made any demands. I challenge him to mention those who said the journalist made those demands. Perhaps, he is unable to mention their names just as he said the Tongo Rana told him to tell the journalist to drop the story and, after the Tongo Rana dissociated himself from that statement yesterday, he (the Minister) has been unable to defend his claims in public. And if he apologises to the Tongo Rana over what he said in the leaked tape, it would only mean he (the Minister) is a liar and he cannot be trusted for anything he says.
The seventh paragraph says the Minister advised the journalist against bribe-taking. Even a basic-school child, listening to that leaked tape, can tell that the Minister is the one shamelessly promising to negotiate for a bribe the journalist never requested to kill the story.
The eighth paragraph seeks to defend the judge. My facts still stand. Shaanxi officials had ex parte meetings with the judge and, after they were caught by the journalist, Rockson Bukari facilitated the bribery attempts. They brought five thousand Ghana cedis and a brand-new motorbike. Rockson Bukari in one of the tapes told the journalist he had taken five thousand Ghana cedis from the Shaanxi CEO for the journalist. It was that same five thousand Ghana cedis they brought to the journalist at his office in Bolgatanga.
The same Minister who in that leaked tape claims the Tongo Rana (the Paramount Chief of Talensi) asked him to tell the journalist to drop the investigative piece and the Tongo Rana has issued a disclaimer against his statement cannot issue any credible statement against a journalist or anyone. Those who put the statement together on his behalf were so desperate to cling to a straw they did not even get the name of their target right. I think the Minister should rather respond to the disclaimer issued against him yesterday by the Tongo Rana for delivering a message which the Tongo Rana now says in a press release that he did not send him to deliver to the journalist. With all due respect, I think the Minister should resign. How could you sink so low with a tattered statement like this! You cannot be trusted! You have demonstrated that you are not fit to be there!
I am an EDWARD…not a COWARD!
Source: Daily Mail GH