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20.09.2005 General News

Fraudulent “international” pressmen invade presidency

By The Heritage.

Government publicist, Dan Botwe confirms presence of wild eyed international” paparazzi” who have targeted the presidency and money making agencies and institutions to milk away the country's hard currency, using good looking girls.

Mostly white journalists from the US, Canada, Britain, Germany and other European countries have suddenly discovered Ghana as a destination to make easy and quick money.

Reports say they sometimes request for 200,000 euros for advertising fees.

Officials from both the office of Presidential spokesperson and the information ministry who want to remain anonymous say these journalists are ordinary citizens recruited by agencies abroad.

The modus operandi of these agencies starts with the writing of proposal letters to some high profile international media organization expressing the desire to do business with them by allowing them to come to Ghana and solicit for adverts so that both companies will share.

Some of the international media organizations include Newsweek, Forbes Magazine, Japan Times and many others.

Having secured permission from the said media organizations the agencies would then school the recruited agents on how to succeed in their mission to secure the commercial goodies from Ghana.

First the agents are told to go to the president and pretend as if they are going to do a country report on Ghana in the said media organization and sell the nation to the international community.

The president, having heard of the news to sell his country to the world quickly accede to the demands of these fraudulent journalists, grant them interviews and also allow the photo journalists among them to take his photograph.

Armed with the president's photographs the journalists move to the offices of ministers and also request for interviews.

Having succeeded in both the president and the ministers offices, they then move to state agencies and departments such as Electricity Company of Ghana –ECG, Tema Oil Refinery-TOR, Ghana Commercial Bank-GCB, Bank of Ghana –BoG and other money making institutions.

After intermittent interactions with mostly the chief executives or general managers of the state institutions, these journalists again request for interviews with the department heads.

At this stage the interviews are conducted by flashy, good looking white women with their male counterparts posing as photojournalists.

They then request for adverts to be placed in the said international media organizations. They also show photographs of the president and sometimes even lie that they have been asked by the president or the minister to come for the adverts, to unconvincing chief executives.

Such heads get entangled in a dilemma as to whether to defy supposed presidential or ministerial orders and refuse the adverts or give out the adverts, which may not have been supported by their annual budget.

Smart ones among them verify from the appropriate authorities and always the answers has been 'no' for the adverts.

Information minister said the fraudulent “journalists come to us with introduction letters saying they want to do a country report on Ghana and we give them letters for the institutions to extend courtesies. But once those institutions have gotten the letters they are not obliged to accept them.”

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