The Editor-in-Chief of The Enquirer, Raymond Archer, says his primary motive for doing a series of stories on Dr Richard Anane, the Minister of Road Transport, is to bring out information on Dr Anane's alleged financial commitments when he earned a net salary of ¢3 million.
He said his main concern was taking the public official to task on allegations of huge financial commitments over and above his income and not related matters as to why Ms Alexandria O'Brien, who had previously said Dr Anane had reimbursed her, would later say he had rendered her destitute.
He said this in Accra on Wednesday as a witness of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) at the fourth hearing of allegations of corruption, misuse of public office and abuse of power against Dr Anane.
He said if he had had a personal vendetta against the minister, he would have gone ahead immediately to publish a story on child neglect when he got the information and interviewed Dr Anane about it.
He made those statements when the lead counsel for Dr Anane, Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson, after a lengthy round of questioning on an affidavit sworn to by Ms Alexandria O'Brien, on which she had changed her name to Alexandria Anane, suggested to Mr Archer that the stories he had written were mischievous and intended to discredit the minister with no proper basis.
To the question whether it was fair for any newspaper to refer to Ms O'Brien as Dr Anane's wife, on the basis of the affidavit, Mr Archer responded that he could not be held responsible for articles in other papers.
That prompted Mr Acquah-Sampson to bring to the attention of panel members that the article in question, written in the February 2, 2005 issue of The Chronicle, had been tendered in evidence during the second sitting and Mr Archer had been asked by the commission to authenticate the contents, which he had done.
Counsel said it had to be placed on record that he had objected to the tendering of that particular article but he was overruled. Therefore, for the principle of fairness to be applied, he had to be allowed to question the witness on it.
The panel of commissioners, made up of the acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Anna Bossman, Mr Richard Quayson and Ms Abena Bonsu, Deputy Commissioners for Public Education and Legal/Investigations, respectively, took note of that.
Mr Acquah-Sampson then questioned Mr Archer on his relationship with Ms O'Brien, a relationship that the latter described as “a journalist/source or professional relationship”.
The lead counsel pointed out that despite the description of the relationship as a “journalist/source relationship”, the witness had publicly said he had given Ms O'Brien money because he had been moved to sympathy by her destitution on a live programme on Metro Television with Mr Kwaku Sintim-Misah.
Explaining, Mr Archer stated that he had given Ms O'Brien an amount of $1,000 in two instalments of $500 to enable her to communicate with him, since she had stated that she did not have the money to make calls.
He added that he had given the money through some friends who he said did not want to be dragged into the matter and therefore he could not name them.
The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Legal and Investigations, Ms Bonsu, then requested a copy of the transcript of the programme for the commission to study.
Questioning the witness on a story in The Enquirer with the headline, “Who is going to pay? Friends? Anane's ¢9 billion Cover”, Mr Acquah-Sampson told the panel that the article on the alleged insurance policy that was to cover Ms O'Brien and her son with Dr Anane.
Nicholas, was a mere proposal, pursuant to which an assessment of risks would have been done before the fixing of a premium.