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General News | Nov 29, 2004

National Democrat Editor Confesses

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Graphic -- The Editor of the National Democrat,Mr Ebenezer Josiah, has retracted what he termed malicious and false publications made about and against President John Agyekum Kufuor and has accordingly apologised to the President and Ghanaians for the fabrications.

He said the stories were forced on the editorial board by Mr Victor Smith, the Special Assistant to Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings, through the Deputy Editor of the paper, Mr Kofi Twumasi, who is also the publisher.In a press statement issued in Accra yesterday, Mr Josiah specifically referred to the publications dealing with the serial killing of women and the murder of the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.

He said for the past four years, Ghana had witnessed a period of tolerance and respect for human rights, to the extent that a sitting President was able to suffer such an extreme slur on his character and still not use his powers to retaliate.“At this critical period for the President, when he is to face the electorate, it is only fair for him that the records are set straight so that the electorate will know who he is,” Mr Josiah confessed.

Explaining the basis for the confession, he said his action bordered on honesty in political matters and that one had a duty to tell the truth even when one was dealing with one's political opponents.He said even when one had initially said the wrong things about one's opponent, one had the duty to confess that one had been misled once one got to know the truth.

He said he had “been constantly advised by family members and close friends, among others,to quit this employment because of its scandalous publications”.“Regarding the serial killings, I wish to retract all that my paper has published about the alleged involvement of our sitting President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor.

It is significant to note that I have no idea about all the scandalous stories bordering on the serial killings, the murder of the Ya-Na, among others,”Mr. Josiah said. “These stories are forced on the editorial board by Victor Smith through the deputy editor, who, coincidentally, is the owner of the paper. However, because I am the editor, I have been overburdened with legal suits, which I am currently grappling with in court,”he added.

He admitted that murder was a serious crime under the law and was even more serious when a person was allowed to govern as President of a nation when a newspaper had published in a convincing manner that he had been involved in the killing of several women.“The allegations have been constantly carried, not just by certain tabloids but also on the Internet abroad,” he confessed.

Recounting how the paper got the information which led to numerous publications in the National Democrat, he confessed that a self-styled informant approached Mr Victor Smith, one of the personalities associated with the paper, and claimed that he was a close associate of President Kufuor.He said the informant claimed to be part of a conspiracy to murder women for ritual purposes and gave account of how President Kufuor had been involved in the procurement of women to be murdered and used for ritual purposes at his residence.

“The whole story was based on the uncorroborated information given by the informant. As the editor of the newspaper, I was given the detailed reports of the informant and asked to reproduce them in the National Democrat newspaper,”he confessed.

He said the structure of the paper had him as editor, Kofi Twum, the publisher,as the Deputy Editor and Mr Opare Djan as the Marketing/Distribution Manager. He said certain dramatic events regarding the serial killings had forced him to expose the calumny and open the lid on the falsehoods.

Mr Josiah said he knew now as a fact that “the informant has brought to the attention of the deputy editor the fact that he falsely provided the information in order to procure a Ghanaian passport”.“In other words, all the detailed allegations that we have produced in our newspaper are without any foundation,” he admitted.

He said the issue he faced, together with all those working on the newspaper, was one of conscience and duty to a fellow Ghanaian, the President.“I am now doing what is morally the right thing : to apologise unreservedly to His Excellency the President and all the good people of Ghana for the irreparable damage that had been done to his good name and reputation,' he stressed.

“Additionally, the allegations against His Excellency the President and some Ministers of State about their involvement in the murder of the Ya-Na are all false. I have no proof of any of the allegations,” he confessed.

“I now call upon all those associated with the newspaper to do likewise since even some National Democratic Congress (NDC)members have privately approached me to discontinue the criminal attacks on the President of this country”,he added.In recent times,the National Democrat has published a series of malicious and false stories alleging conspiracy between the government and the Editor of the Daily Graphic to rig the December general election.

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