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27.07.2005 Press Release

Television Crew Detained

Media Foundation for West Africa (Toronto)

On 22 July 2005, a crew from TV Africa, an Accra-based independent television station, was arrested and detained for about two hours by security personnel at President John Agyekum Kufuor's private home.

The crew members said they were verbally abused, and one reporter had her identity card removed clumsily and was prevented from calling the television station's office.

Reporter Soyokuor Quarcoo-Tchire, camera operator Mark Ntim and soundman Samuel Nii Laryea were arrested while filming a hotel building that is currently under construction near the president's house.

The circumstances surrounding the hotel building's acquisition by Chief John Addo Kufuor, the president's eldest son, have been the subject of controversy. Following demands for an inquiry, the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), an independent constitutional body, launched an investigation regarding the circumstances under which the building was purchased, and to find out if the president himself had an interest in the transaction.

Following an address to the press about the investigation by CHRAJ's chairperson, the TV Africa crew decided to take footage of the hotel building for a news segment. The crew was arrested during this coverage.

According to Quarcoo-Tchire, the security personnel refused to allow her to call the TV Africa office.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong apologised to the journalists and TV Africa about the incident.

"The Police Administration concedes that an unfortunate situation arose because there was misinterpretation of motives on both sides. We are not perfect, sometimes we make regrettable mistakes and this is one of them," he said.

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