This week, I woke up to one story making headlines on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) blog, the Ghanaian media and most other forms of electronic media. I must acknowledge that before I learnt about this story from the above-listed sources, my very good friend in the United Kingdom had forwarded links to the story to me.
A few minutes after, my very big sister and an outstanding Barrister at a Law firm (name withheld) and a Professional in the Ethics & Compliance Fraternity, for which I belong; had led me to the story, knowing it will be of great interest and importance to me.
Indeed, I acknowledged receipt of the information and, upon reading a few lines into the post, iterated my interest in the case. Yes, this is a case involving the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for which I preach and enforce at the workplace as an Ethics & Compliance practitioner.
Just when I had commented, my conscience quickly got me to look for the full article to read further to understand the issues. It was at this point that I comprehended how the story had all been taken out of context. It was the judgement day for the accused with commentators conclusively accusing the accused of the commission of various alleged infractions.
At this point, I remembered it is easy for someone to take sides when they only know one side of a story. I again remembered just because I am presented with one version doesn’t make it the whole truth and that if I am unwilling to know the other side, I should not be so quick to make a judgement on what I have seen or heard.
Just when these thoughts kept running, I quickly went back to comment on the fact that it will be interesting to know the responses this accused person comes up with so as to enable me objectively present my thoughts and comments on the issue. Until then, all comments are speculative only and not based on full facts of the matter; I told myself.
In order to make my statements crystal clear and not leave readers perplexed about the identity of this accused person, I am referring to the immediate past Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Asante Berko who tendered his resignation to the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following bribery allegations by the US FCPA against him.
A press release issued on Monday, April 13, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the US charged Mr. Asante Berko with orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client win a contract to build and operate a power plant in Ghana.
On the account of the comments and reportage by individuals and some media outlets, it was as though all allegations were factual and true. Well, I am in no way claiming the story is false neither am I confirming its actuality. Let me be quick to add that I have no personal relationship with the accused but I was disappointed in how disappointed some commentators alike were and the fact that they have lost interest in the accused upon seeing the one-sided story.
Comments like “the glitter never was gold”, “I lost interest in him”, “looks like he did what some entrepreneurs have been doing in Ghana”, “so who passes the litmus test?”, “criminals in suit” and the likes kept running down on one post. The other comments on radio discussions are equally undesirable.
At this point, I kept wondering whether the story was a court judgement or an initial accusation for which the accused was entitled to responses and possibly proof and/or confirmation of the accusations.
Well, at this point, I can confirm they are mere allegations and not a final determination and therefore, those backlashes were unwarranted. It was not until long that the accused issued a statement to debunk allegations levelled against him even though it is not enough to settle on the mere statement as the new truth.
The lesson drawn and being preached here now does not be quick to jump on the news until its substantiated. In as much as I hate and frown upon corruption knowing its adverse effect on the world economy, steps will however always be taken to ensure an accused is indeed guilty before pronouncing their crucifixion. I will only be disappointed in him if he is guilty.
Position yourself at an angle from the other side before getting disappointed for nothing. Remember there are two sides to every story. If you’re not willing to listen to both sides, don’t be so quick to make a judgement on what you have heard. In all of these, it is our level of maturity that gets exposed!
It is better full than half; don’t settle for less!
A lovely weekend to you all!