Contestants in the latest reality show on TV Africa, StyleHunt, had the rudest shock of their lives when the organisers of the show, led by Ken Kumahor, called for their arrest.
The contestants, who were arrested for allegedly breaking into their rooms and taking away some of their own clothing, were later released after questioning by the East Legon Police and signing bonds of good behaviour.
Narrating the incident, the eight contestants -six finalists and two evictees- said on Thursday, May 30, 2007, they complained to the Chaperon, one Esther that they were hungry, a daily occurrence in the East Legon House near the Shugger Hotel where the contestants were housed, but she rebuffed them and told them to speak to Mr. Kumahor.
They alleged as at 12 noon that day, they had still not taken their breakfast, and when they complained to Mr. Kumahor on phone, he rushed to the House to inform them that the show had been suspended and that they should go back to their respective regions and that would be called back after two weeks' break.
They did not take kindly to the message since six of them had qualified for the grand finale, which was yet to take place.
They claimed they became alarmed, as there was no guarantee they would be back in the House to take part in the show and collect their prizes, if they went home.
They then demanded to take their handiworks away but Esther and Mr. Kumahor refused to give the items to them.
The contestants alleged further that in the absence of the two, they went in for their designs since they knew where they were kept.
While they were sorting through the clothing for identification, someone alerted Esther that they were stealing the items.
Mr. Kumahor and Esther then reported the matter to the Police who in turn invited them for questioning.
A source at the East Legon Police Station confirmed the report but said they were not arrested but invited for questioning.
After investigation however, the Police realised it was purely a business venture on contractual arrangement and therefore could not criminalise the matter.
The StyleHunt Reality show had been bedeviled by myriads of problems including contestants going hungry all day, taps in the House not running and lack of working tools for sewing especially sewing machines.
One of the contestants, Clementina Xorla Tetteh could not hide her frustration and anger at the poor living conditions in the House, and had literarily stormed out of the House.
Speaking after leaving the House, Miss Tetteh alleged when they reported at the House on Easter Sunday with five contestants each from the Northern and Southern sectors, they noticed there were only two sewing machines for the 10 contestants.
After staying idle in the House for after sometime, they were later grouped into two and were given the two machines to sew.
According to her, subsequent events showed that the organisers did not prepare adequately to meet the challenges of the programme.
The programme was said to be a sewing contest to be judged by two experienced Fashion Designers whose 70 per cent marks, coupled with 30 per cent votes from viewers would determined whether a contestant stayed in the house or was evicted.
Miss Tetteh claimed the text voting were on the Tigo and OneTouch networks but the organisers deliberately kept the text votes to themselves and used it to victimize those who were seen to be 'stubborn'.
She recalled an occasion when they were so hungry that one of the contestants, Evelyn, collapsed and had to be rushed to the Cocoa Clinic where she was treated and discharged.
She contended as she could not contain the inhumane treatment they were subjected to any longer, she left the House by officially writing to inform management of her decision.
When contacted Mr. Kumahor on phone, he noted what happened at the initial stages had been left behind and that he wanted to look forward.
He debunked the allegations against him including those of sexual advances at some of the ladies and said they were orchestrated to derail his ambition. Mr. Kumahor accused Ms. Dzifa Gomashie, a popular TV icon of being the brain behind his woes.
He remarked Ms. Gomashie deliberately 'planted' Miss Tetteh in their midst to sabotage their dream.
In reaction to that, Ms. Gomashie described Mr. Kumahor as being 'childish' and said she was rather helping Mr. Kumahor for the programme to be successful. She said she was on good terms with the management of the programme and described Miss Tetteh as an adult who was capable of taking her own decision.
Meanwhile, the contestants were supposed to leave the House but there are speculations that the organisers could not raise money for their transport.
Source: Daily Guide