Open letter to Joy News and the Multimedia Group

Amidu Chinnia Issahaku

Dear Joy FM/News,

I took my time to watch and listen to your documentary “Caught in Conflict?” that you broadcast in your media. If I understand correctly, you have launched an investigation to expose wrongdoing related mainly to a conflict of interest and, to some extent, corruption and abuse of public office by the Honorable Amidu Chinnia when he was Deputy Regional Minister for the Upper West.

I was kinda thrilled when I saw the trailer doing the rounds especially as it was about a minister of state, MP and responsible public office holder in Ghana that I have known for some time. Issues of corruption in all its forms should be a matter of concern for any sensible citizen, especially when a people like the Sissala have been bedeviled by deprivation and lack of improved social and economic infrastructure.

Ordinarily, my default approach to issues related to roads and the development of our place is well known. The jury is there and there is no point in exercising a tired and too flocked line.
While this is established, we should also be careful not to engage in character alteration motivated by wickedness, vindictiveness, and pure mischief. Joy News to be honest with you, your so-called documentary was watery, wonky, a waste of precious time, and motivated by what you can say best but certainly not professional motives.
I will take my time to expose you in your so-called documentary one by one.

1. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution stipulates what is a conflict of interest, thus “A public official must not put himself in a situation where his personal interest comes into conflict or is likely to come into conflict with the exercise functions of the load”.
A potential conflict of interest exists if the individual’s private interests, as disclosed in the individual’s disclosure statement, may interfere with the public interests that the individual is required to serve in the exercise of authority and of the person’s duties in the office or job position.

Thus, the fundamental and consequent questions are therefore threefold:
1. Is Hon Amidu Chinnia owner, director or member of management of Batuowiisi Company Ltd?
2. Was Hon. Amidu Chinnia a member of the Upper West RCC Entity Tender Committee when Batuowiisi Company bid for the road contract?
3. If he was a member of the ETB, did he reveal his interest and recuse himself during decision-making processes?
The conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest must place the recipient in a position where their function conflicts with their personal interest and even then the individual fails to disclose and recuse themselves during the process and final decision making.

In this case, the three parameters are all negative. How then to come back to the conclusion that he is in conflict just because he knows the directors of said company.

The documentary failed to establish these three parameters and how then did the conclusion come to me that the honorable member was involved in a conflict of interest?.
If you can establish that he influenced the process, fair enough, until enough evidence is adduced to the contrary, that’s a lot I’m doing for nothing.

SUPPLY

The Public Procurement (Amendment) Act 2016, Act 914, sets out the legal powers and administration of public procurement in Ghana. The documentary itself confirmed that the contract was won through open bidding. Out of three companies that bid, the contract was won by Batuowiisi Company Ltd.

Joy News and Multi media should tell us that the company won the contract by shady means. Anything to the contrary is completely false and without substance. In any case, the fact that I am a minister or public officer does not prevent any of my associates from doing legitimate business. It’s quite commonplace and a media house of multimedia caliber and reputation should know that, unless it’s motivated by malice and ill intent.

COMPANY

Now we focus our attention on business and management. Act 992 Companies Act, 2019. The litmus tests here are five times:
1. Is the honorable deputy a promoter of the company according to article 10 of law 992?
2. Is he a director?
3. Is he a member of management?
4. Is he a shareholder or a holder of bonds?
5. Is he an agent?

If any of them is unchecked, then how could it be linked to said Batuowiisi company, even in the remotest of circumstances.

In any case on the debts to the GRA and the Ministry of Agriculture. Who shouldn’t or potentially should. Even Ghana, our beloved country, has debts around its neck. How to say because a company must, the minister should assume responsibility when he is neither an agent nor a director of the company.

NATURAL JUSTICE

In law school, we believe in always listening to the other side. You don’t need to have a passing sense of the law to know this commonplace natural principle. We call it audi alteram partem.

How come you claim to have done an “investigation” and never spoke to directors or officers of the same company as part of your so-called investigation? This certainly calls for a critical response from Joy news. I mean how??
That you are traveling to Tumu from Accra and after investigation we did not hear or read in your report any part of the contractor, at least for the benefit of the doubt. It sure can’t be professional, can it?

POLITICS
This is all political drama and any serious person who understands Upper West politics, power play and dynamics will understand where this is coming from and where this is going.
All of this is an attempt to obscure the bright light of a young, dynamic and resourceful man. Some people in their madness think that the only way to rise is to knock down their neighbor.

This so-called documentary should be tossed and thrown away immediately. It lacks substance, professionalism and basically a craft of people who seek to tarnish the reputation of Hon Amidu Chinnia, but believe me they failed and sadly too.

Written by Mr. Alhassan AMIN DUANI
Social activist and constituent of Sissala East

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