Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has released the full video for his latest investigative piece titled: Aba-yee: Secrets of the corrupt city guards.
Anas about two months ago in a social media post said the six-month investigation monitored the activities of City Guards and many who were engaged in cases of abuse of power and the taking of bribes from some hawkers and drivers who didn't have permits.
The city guard system was meant to maintain order and make our metropolis, our malls and massive markets more civil and modern.
However, by their mercenary manners and dubious modus operandi, the men, mandated by the Metropolitan authorities to make the measures work, have rather made things matchlessly murkier and life more meaningless for many a motorist, merchant and major patrons of our many mushrooming markets.
READ ALSO: Anas exposé: 'Aba-yee' trailer released
The City Guards (Abayee) mandated to rid the city of people selling and putting up structures at unauthorised places such as the streets and pedestrian pavements, were on several occasions caught taking money from the very people they are to police to allow shield them to go about their illegal activities.
There were instances where the Abayee would seize goods from hawkers and ask them to meet them at the place where they wrap up their daily activities, usually, opposite Kinbu, for negotiation and payment in order to retrieve their seized goods.
Tiger, posing as a hawker selling slippers in a wheelbarrow had his wheelbarrow and goods seized on several occasions. On one of the occasions, the Abayee that seized the Tiger’s goods demanded more than the GHS =5 they often collected from owners of seized goods. The guard eventually took Tiger’s GHS 5 and an extra GHS10 from another coconut seller and returned their goods to them to go about their activities.
On another occasion, another Abayee, after seizing Tiger’s wheelbarrow and collecting GHS 5 from Tiger, released his goods and allowed him to freely sell in the street with a caution not to get caught by other guards.
There was also an incident where an Abayee seized items from a Nigerian hawker at Tudu claiming that he was selling at an authorised place despite repeated warnings to the hawkers. This Abayee later takes GHS 10 from the Nigerian and another GHS 5 from Tiger, in the presence of some of their leaders after which the seized goods were released.
The negotiation to retrieve seized goods could also involve the affected hawker parting with some of the seized goods to the Abayee.
Those who are unable to pay either in cash or with some of their goods get their items transferred into a much spacious operation vehicles and transported to the AMA office near Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.
In some situations, Tiger also posed as a customer or relative to some of these hawkers and negotiated with the Abayee on their behalf for payment of between GHS 10 and GHS 40 to be made to the Abayee and the goods of the hawkers released for them to continue their hawking without further interruptions.
On one of such occasion, the Abayee, who were undertaking their usual goods-seizing expedition, came upon some hawkers selling at unauthorized places. With the hawkers defying the Abayee, the latter only asked the offending hawkers to choose whether they should seize some of the goods and leave the others. The Abayee refused the bribes given them not to seize the goods being sold at the unauthorized spots. They would not budge even when Tiger tried to intervene, rather asking him to come over to Kinbu where they send all the seized goods and where wrap up their daily activities.
At Kinbu, they demanded GHS 50 from one of the hawkers who said she could give only GHS 5 because she had made just GHS 10 sales all day from which she also had to take her lorry fare. Tiger then negotiated on behalf of this hawker with one of the leaders of the Abayee group who later demanded GHS 20 to release. Eventually, he accepted GHS 15, withy Tiger topping up the GHS 10 the GHS 5 the lady was offering. The goods were then returned to them to go and sell again.
Click the link below to watch