A minister of state at the presidency, Rockson Ayine Bukari, has been caught on tape in a frantic and desperate effort to prevent a journalist from publishing a damning story against a Chinese mining company when he was heading the Upper East region.
Daily Mail GH has chanced on a tape implicating Mr. Bukari in a coordinated plan by people in high places to drop an undercover report carried out by a Starr FM journalist Edward Adeti, involving a judge in the Upper East region.
The most senior judge in the Upper East region, Justice Jacob B. Boon, was caught meeting officials of Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd – a party in a case before him – day and night in November 2018 at his residence.
The journalist, Mr. Adeti confronted officials of Shaanxi and the judge with his evidence two days prior to judgment. Thereafter, he began receiving telephone calls from some powerful figures, who are linked to Shaanxi, pleading strongly on behalf of the judge and the Chinese-owned company to not publish the findings.
Daily Mail GH can confirm Mr. Bukari was one of the powerful figures who allegedly arranged cash inducement and other gifts for the journalist to kill the story.
In the recorded telephone conversation in possession of Dailymailgh.com, the former Upper East regional minister was heard pleading heaven and earth with the reporter to shred the story.
“I want you to do something for me. If something is not good, I won’t tell you,” Mr. Bukari started off in the conversation.
He continued: “The Shaanxi people we supported them all along. You know they are not reliable. Their hands are too hard. Don’t publish that story, because that judge [Justice Jacob B. Boon] is a very good friend of mine. When I was a registrar of the House they were all with me. Ambrose Dery, he Kolendi and then Avoka and others I gave them an office at the House of chiefs.
“I beg you. In this world, it is a small world. I beg you. Talk to them. Monday I’ll let them get something for you. I beg you. I’m kneeling down and begging you. Don’t publish it. I beg you. I won’t disappoint you. If I were to be there with you it won’t be a problem but now I’m not there. I told them their hands are too hard and that is not good,” Mr. Bukari cajoled the reporter.
He went on to inform the reporter there are other powerful people who want the story to stay in the dark.
“The [chief] said I should talk to you not to do it because it will affect them. I’ve told them to try to see you on Monday. Everything will be ok for you so I beg you. I’m now in charge of special duties and I’m to go to all the regions and next week I’ll go to Brong Ahafo to solve problems.
“So I’m assuring you that Monday, you’ll here from Suade [sic]. Don’t try and publish it. I’ll be coming around and I’ll call you so that we meet,” Mr. Bukari concluded.
True to Bukari’s words, on the appointed day, Shaanxi officials brought a bribe of Gh¢5,000 cash in a brown envelope and a brand new motorbike worth about Gh¢5,000 to the investigative journalist for him to kill the story.
“We know you are using a very wretched motorbike. This is just the beginning for you,” one of the officials told the journalist after the motorbike was delivered. “We have held a meeting to see how every month you’ll get something from us. If you publish it, it would affect many people including the judge who is about to retire.”
According to the reporter, “strong threats trailed the telephone calls in the form of caution” to him from known and unknown sources to have the findings quashed.
On Monday November 26, 2018, the judge, after presiding over arguments sequentially waged by a team of lawyers from each side against the other, and following weeks of studying the exhibits tendered before him by Cassius to buttress its claims and those tendered by Shaanxi in defence, ruled on the case.
The ruling favoured the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd as the judge did not grant the interlocutory injunction the Cassius Mining Limited sought.