Undercover investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has revealed that on some occasions, the large sums of money he paid as bribes during undercover investigations have been kept as permanent exhibits by authorities, never to be returned.
This revelation came in response to a question Anas answered during his appearance at the Disruption Lab Network event in Germany. He was discussing his work combating organized crime in Africa with CNN's Stephanie Busari.
Busari asked Anas whether he ever gets the bribe money back from the individuals he pays it to.
Anas responded: "Well it depends. There's been certain occasions that the money has been used as exhibits and the people who used it as exhibits kept it as exhibits, permanent exhibits."
The question originated from a member of the German audience.
Question: "Thank you Anas, amazing stuff very inspiring. I actually have a lot of questions but I am going to ask two, one very practical. First of all is, when you pay these huge amounts of money as bribes, where do you get the money from?"
"And second is, do you sometimes feel like maybe the Ghanaian law enforcement officers may use you as a good publicity for the government, because they may appear [that] we busted these [criminal] guys but that may just be a picture, what do you think about that?
Responding, Anas Aremeyaw Anas said:
"Well, where do you get the money. So we are a media house and we have views, we have clicks, we have radio stations that we go into some form of alliance with. So before we start any investigation, there is a budget and that budget is what goes into the film."
"So yes, that is how we get the money. We don't get it everyday, I wish we could get more to do what we do, but we try and we wish we will not be paying more but sometimes you just have to pay more to get it."
Anas: "Now the police, yes, it is a decision you have to make. I have been the number one critic of the Ghana Police, I have done stories where many of them have been sacked and all of that, but at the same time, I am able to sense when I need them to help to push the national agenda."
"So I try to separate people's parochial interests from doing what is right. For me a crime is a crime and I will fight that crime whatever way the police service want to use to tell their story, that is for them."
"But at the end of the day, have I managed to minimise that crime, have I managed to take the person to court, have I managed to sentence the person, those are important things for me. And if I can take pride in that work and the police can take pride in that, it is okay, society moves on well. But I also do know that the police are not your friends, they are not at all, because they are a part of the system and they can be used against you too."
This was when Stephanie Busari asked Anas if he gets the money back from those people that he gives the money to [as bribe].
Anas: "Well it depends. There's been certain occasions that the money has been used as exhibits and the people who used it as exhibits kept it as exhibits, permanent exhibits."