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24.08.2005 General News

ABUSE OF POWER -Chronicle reporter detained


... MP's brothers involved The Obuasi Chronicle reporter, Albert Nana Asante, was last Monday arrested in his house at Brahabebome, a suburb of Obuasi, in the Ashanti Region, and detained for allegedly writing a defamatory story about the MP for the area.

Police Constable Derek Assiamah of the Obuasi central police station, together with two brothers of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi, Hon. Edward Ennin, Nana Kumati and Jackson Ackom Ennin, in the early hours of Monday morning, unlawfully arrested the 22-year old journalist, who was not even allowed to brush his teeth or wash his face.

Even when he demanded the reason for his 'invitation' to the police station, the angry constable, who was in mufti, told him that, “you will be answered when you get to the Police station.”

At some distance from the reporter's house, the policeman ordered him to join a car with registration number AS 494 S that the reporter knew belonged to one of the MP's brothers, Nana Kumati, who had come with the constable.

Constable Assiamah shouted, “Do you know how long we have been searching to arrest you? I came here peacefully to arrest you but if you do not want to join this car, I will use force to take you to the police station.”

This was after the reporter suspecting foul play, had resisted joining the car.

Nana Asante said, to avoid molestation, he consented and joined the car, which was driven by Nana Kumati, to the police station.

It was one hour after the reporter had been detained at the charge office that Constable Assiamah told the reporter, “the MP is saying you have written a defamatory story about him.

That is why I came to arrest you.” And this was after the reporter had again demanded the reason for his arrest.

According to the reporter, it was only after news had reached Alhaji Kofi Mensah and Mr. Danso Abeam, both brothers in the inky fraternity who write for the GNA and the Pioneer respectively, who managed to contact the Municipal Police Commander, DSP F.S. Adikah, that the latter ordered for his release after three hours in detention.

DSP Adikah expressed his innocence and surprise about the arrest and detention of the reporter and said, “ I ordered nobody to arrest and detain you so the one who arrested you should come and tell us who ordered him.”

“At times, some policemen behave out of ignorance,” DSP Adikah added.

It was at this moment that the Municipal Police Commander told the reporter that Ackom Ennin, a brother of the MP for Obuasi, had lodged a complaint at the police station against him, for circulating defamatory information about his brother.

It could be recalled that last Thursday, The Chronicle published a story headlined, “OBUASI MP EXPOSED” and this same story appeared on the Ghanaweb with the headline “OBUASI MP LIES TO CONSTITUENCY” which story many people in the Obuasi municipality had accessed from the internet.

It was this story that the Obuasi Chronicle reporter was accused of having masterminded to defame the MP, even though the story had the by-line of Mr. Dominic Jale, a senior reporter at The Chronicle.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the MP on phone to know his level of involvement in the arrest and detention of the reporter, proved futile, as his phone had been switched off.