EVEN BEFORE the Special Audit Report of the Ministry of Information, which claims ¢15 billion was paid to groups of journalists by the previous government makes its way to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, two senior journalists are on a collision course over the issue.
Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini, a night editor of the Daily Graphic, and Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., yesterday clashed on Radio Gold, an Accra-based radio station, over who took the said monies.
According to the audit report, a former Minister of Information, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, allegedly collected the money for distribution to the said journalists.
The groups, according to report, were referred to as BLOW, PRIM, FIRST RESPONSE, and the EDITOR’S FORUM.
The auditors say such groups were the beneficiaries of the ¢15 billion cedis.
In the heated radio debate Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini was grateful to Allah that the chicken had finally come home to roost.
The night Editor of the Daily Graphic, who doubles as the Board Chairman for Ghana Institute of Journalism, argued that he had always suspected that the ‘Mafia’ was given fat payments at the expense of the poor tax payer.
According to him, he knows “The New Crusading Guide, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako’s paper, doesn’t even circulate more than 1,000 copies, “yet look at the obscene and opulent lifestyle he flaunts in our faces.”
Alhaji Fuseini revealed that he was aware that Malik Kweku Baako, Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide, had a mansion and an expensive four wheel drive, just like most of his colleagues in the Coffee Shop Mafia, and that “in any serious country, the IRS and institutions of state would have questioned Kweku Baako by now.”
Responding to his fellow Muslim, Mr. Baako said he cannot wait to have the said names published, and that he was “irritated that the names have so much delayed, leading to unwarranted suspicion of journalists.”
He indicated that he was ready for any investigation into the source of his wealth, and said information about his house “isn’t new, and that many NDC sympathizers, including some ministers, know my house.”
Mr. Baako further recounted the traveling history of some members of the Mafia with ex-president Kufuor.
He said throughout all the eight years regime of Mr. Kufuor, he travelled only three times with President Kufuor, Mr. Alfred Ogbamey, Managing Editor of the Gye Nyame Concord, and Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi, a morning show host of Peace FM, traveled two times each, with Mr. Egbert Faibille traveling only once.
The two senior journalists also argued about the originator of what has become a cruel and fabricated allegation some years ago against Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr., that the latter had been bribed with $125,000.
Though Kweku Baako insisted that the Mafia didn’t originate it, and that he condemned it at the time, Alhaji Fuseini contended that the Mafia hatched the plot, and got their fellow member, Alhaji Haruna Atta of the then Accra Daily Mail, to break the story in his paper.
Alhaji Fuseini said, “at the time I singlehandedly took on the Coffee Shop Mafia on Good Evening Ghana.”
The two senior journalists, in a heated debate, took turns to accuse each other of stories they had planted in times past, which were not necessarily true, and whose motives might not have been genuine.
The ¢15 billion, according to the audit, was taken from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Debt Recovery Levy.
Ebenezer Ato Sam (a.k.a Baby Ansabah), Editor of the New Punch, whose recent rise to fame was on the back of confessions, also said in an earlier interview on the same programme, that he felt vindicated, when he alleged during his confessions that he had been left out of the huge largesse doled out to journalists in the Kufuor era. Source: Ghanaian Chronicle