Outspoken broadcast journalist, Captain Smart, host of the flagship programme on Angel 102.9 FM has been slapped with a 30-day suspension from the station and he says it was caused by continuous pressure from top government official on his employer, Dr Kwaku Oteng, owner of the Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN).
Captain Smart has suggested he may not return to ABN even after the 30 days suspension which ends on June 4, 2021. On Sunday morning, the suspended journalist published on his official facebook wall, an artwork showing the name and logo of a new station called “Smart TV” with the tagline “fearless” and he told the public to watch out for that station.
Captain Smart said Dr Kwaku Oteng personally called him on two occasions to asked him to proceed on suspension and that that instruction was followed by an official suspension letter sent to him by the station’s General Manager, Kwadwo Dickson.
“The letter said I had been using some harsh words on the President and the Vice President and the IGP and that he has called me on several occasions to stop these things and I am not stopping and for that matter, I should proceed on suspension for one month. And after one month I resume”, Captain Smart recounted and denied ever using harsh or insulting words on the President, the Vice President or the Inspector General of Police as being alleged.
Captain Smart, speaking exclusively to Paul Adom-Otchere on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana last Thursday night said it was true he had called out the President to demonstrate his commitment to stop illegal small scale mining by first stopping it in his own hometown Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
Smart further admitted to have described the government as incompetent in several instances and that he stands by that description as far as the specific instances are concerned.
He is of the view the Ghanaian media should speak truth to power rather than allow it to be cowed into docility.
Below is a transcript of the first seven minutes and 45 seconds of the interview Paul Adom-Otchere (PAO) had with Captain Smart (CS) which was almost 37 minutes long.
PAO: Have you stopped working at Angel FM?
CS: No I have not
PAO: So what is happening?
CS: Ermmm.. Good evening to your wonderful viewers. Before I answer your question, I have to say this; any day, anytime, if there is any nonsense going on in this country, I would rise and talk. I would keep shouting, I would keep pointing the mistakes. If you are a politician, it is your responsibility to either like me or hate me because you do not feed me. And until we begin to do that, we can never ever save this country.
I am not afraid, I am not worried, I am not perturbed, I am not disturbed, I am a happy man, I am enjoying my family and the 30 days I have been asked to stay home, thank God mennnn. I would be brutally happy.
PAO: Oh they said you should stay home for 30 days?
CS: Yes. One month.
PAO: But Captain, are you not a member of the management of Angel?
CS: Well, I am the Director of Operations for Angel Broadcasting Network.
PAO: How many radio stations in there?
CS: We have more than 20
CS: I was home yesterday after my birthday bash on radio and TV when the CEO called me.
PAO: Who is the CEO?
PAO: Bronzy is a nickname. What is his name?
CS: Acheampong. He called me that he had something to tell me then he started talking that there is so much pressure coming from left, center, right on the Founder and President that he wants me to call our Founder and President, Dr. Kweku Oteng but I should not let him know that he asked me to call him. I asked him what was happening because I am not afraid of such things and that if he has anything to tell me, he should say it.
I told him on the phone that the night before, I had information that some people had met at the Labone Coffee Shop and planned about me. They had said Captain Smart was becoming too loud and was making some people unpopular. He is doing this and that and a whole lot of things.
So yesterday on air, I said that if today, Dr. Kweku Oteng says ‘Captain, I can’t work with you anymore,’ praise God, I would leave. I would not be hungry because I am not a lazy person. And my brain works.
So I called Dr. Kweku Oteng and he told me he is getting calls from people in this government and receiving letters and the GRA is harassing him all because I am talking too much.
PAO: How exactly is the GRA harassing him? Is it for some payment?
CS: Well I don’t know. These are the things he said. I asked why and he said he had been told that I had said Nana Addo, Dr. Bawumia and the IGP are ‘gymifuo’. I said ah on air? And he said yes that I said it on air.
I told him that senior, I can say almost anything but I can’t go to the extent of saying that the President of the land, the Vice President and the IGP and Alan Kyeremanten are ‘gymifuo’ and that if he could provide me with the evidence, I would apologize on air and then resign from the company.
PAO: Are your shows recorded?
CS: Yes they are live on Facebook. He said that because of the pressure he is receiving, when I close from work, he would want me to step aside for a while and that when the tension eases down a bit, and the pressure on him comes down, I can return.
So I said okay, if that is what was going to help him. Because I am just one individual and you have all these group of companies. If Captain Smart alone would bring your company down, why not, I would do that for you. So I went to work today but after my intro, he called and said the pressure has started again when I started my show at 5:3 AM
PAO: What exact time did he call you?
CS: I started my show at 5:30 and I think he called around seven minutes after six in the morning.
PAO: Who called you?
CS: Dr. Oteng.
PAO: He himself?
CS: Yes he himself called me and he said the conversation we had the previous day he had told me to hold on a bit. Then I told him that he had said I should step aside after close of work today. But he said that was not the communication and that he had just received another phone call that early morning. So I said Senior, let me drop this.
PAO: so you had to stop the show?
CS: Yes I did.
PAO: But you have news at six. Was this after the news?
CS: No. It was before the news ended.
PAO: So the news was going on when he spoke to you. Did you go back after the news?
CS: I did not. The other team members had to continue and that’s it.
So he told me he had sent the General Manager of 102.9, that is Kwadwo Dickson to bring me a letter. Around 10:49 thereabout, my brother called and said he had something for me. I asked what it was. He said he had been asked to bring me a letter. I asked letter at this time? Well, I would not be allowed to step out. If it is about me staying away for some time, I have spoken to Dr. Oteng so there is no need for that letter.
I saw he took a shot and sent it to me on WhatsApp
PAO: What was in the letter?
CS: Well, the letter said that I have been too hard on Nana Addo , the vice President . They said I had been using some harsh words on the President and the Vice President and the IGP and that he has called me on several occasions to stop these things and I am not stopping and for that matter, I should proceed on suspension for one month. And after one month I resume.
So they gave a date that that starts today and that net month, June 4 I am to resume. That was what the letter stated.
PAO: So technically it was a suspension
CS: Yes that is what the letter says.
PAO: For, as it were, using unprintable words against high profile personalities.
CS: That’s according to the letter.