GHANA Palaver editor, Joojo Bruce-Quansah, along with two of the famous Ahwoi brothers, Kwamena and Ato, may be charged for deceiving a police officer, according to a senior police source.
Yesterday, after the results of various forensic examinations, the CID and the Attorney General Department were studying all the evidence in preparation to pressing charges against the three persons.
The three are alleged to have been complicit in a plot to invent a well-publicised “attack” on Bruce-Quansah, who claims to have been severely beaten up by some eight assailants in the early hours of last Tuesday morning. Joojo and Kwamena filed police statements - including some retractions and revisions - about the supposed incident.
The three leading members of the opposition National Democratic Congress are suspected to have conspired to fabricate a scandalous story to gain political “advantage” over the ruling New Patriotic Party by suggesting that the Palaver editor was brutally attacked by agents of a government that has set to destroy the opposition mouthpiece and its editor through legal and violent means.
Information reaching The Statesman suggests an elaborate but botched attempt to spring Mr Bruce-Quansah out of the country into hiding abroad. This, the theory goes, would have left the cloud of suspicion of abduction and disappearance of a critical journalist hanging on the NPP.
Ato Ahwoi's alleged involvement is apparently for shielding Mr Bruce-Quansah at a time his brother, Kwamena, had given a statement to the police claiming the editor was injured and missing. Ato Ahwoi is alleged to have assisted and facilitated the obtaining of such a political advantage by endeavouring to deceive a public officer in the execution of official duty. This allegedly makes him a co-conspirator in the offence of deceiving a police officer. Act 29 of the Criminal Code, Section 521, states: “Any person who, with intent, to defeat, obstruct, or prevent the course of justice, or the due administration of law… or to obtain or to assist in, or facilitate the obtaining of any…advantage, endeavours to deceive or overreach any public officer acting in the execution of any public office or duty by… any false statement…whether written or verbal, or by any written or verbal statement… the person making such statement… did not have good reason to be true is guilty of a misdemeanour.”
Anyone found guilty of this offence faces a prison term of not less than six months, or a fine, or both.
Mr Bruce-Quansah told the Police his attackers hurt him so badly with wet towels that they left him in a pool of “water.”
However, information reaching The Statesman suggests this could have been nothing more than an elaborately – but woefully - planned fake attack, with the indecision and revision of Kwamena Ahwoi over his own police statement adding fuel to these suspicions.
Mr Ahwoi initially told the police categorically that he had received a phone call from one Christie, a sister-in-law to the editor, whose house the editor had gone to with his shirt soaked in blood. Mr Ahwoi is said to have shown the police his mobile phone which displayed the number from which he had received that 'distressing' dawn call, adding it was from a communication centre, apparently operating during those early hours.
However Mr Ahwoi subsequently went back to the police to revise this statement. Then he is alleged to have told the police that the lady was a nameless stranger that the editor had met in a taxi. He is also alleged to have suggested in his second statement that she called from a phone booth but not a communication centre. Communication centres do not usually open at three in the morning.
According to our sources, the apparently troubled Editor ran to a confidant, Abubakar Dana, a leading member of the defunct Peace Keepers group, and allegedly confessed to Alhaji Abu that the whole story of the recent 'attack' on him, the Editor, was a conspiracy hatched in the home of one of the Ahwoi brothers.
The brothers, who served in various capacities of power under the PNDC and NDC, are known thinkers and chief operators of the Party's propaganda machine. Kwamena Ahwoi was the first to report the supposed brutal attack to the police. This sparked a lot of media interest, but skeptical reactions from the public to the story indicated that the alleged conspiracy was going to backfire. The Palaver Editor allegedly made a confession to Alhaji Abu, as reported in the November 11 report in the Weekend Crusading Guide, that he smeared his clothes with chicken blood in order to assume the appearance of one who had been attacked. On hindsight the conspirators realised a forensic test would determine the source of the blood, it was alleged.
The alleged conspirators, according to the story told to Alhaji Abu, had the twin purpose of seeking political advantage by besmirching Government and at the same time winning sympathy for Mr Quansah in the hope that his house, that was a target of a judgment execution against him and the paper, could be saved. A source told The Statesman that the Palaver editor, who was beginning to worry about the plan later Tuesday allegedly left Ato Ahwoi's house at West Legon to meet with Alhaji Abu to say he was willing “to come clean.”
He allegedly added that the plan was to quietly spring him out of the country and to let the negative stigma of suspicion that agents of the NPP had 'neutralised” him play in the minds of people until at least the 2008 general elections.
However, other sources privy to the stories are not convinced that the Ahwoi brothers were part of the alleged original plan to fake an attack. They believe Kwamena did in fact receive a call from a lady early Tuesday morning and innocently reported the matter to the police, only to find out later that it was the editor's own scheme.
They believe Mr Bruce-Quansah, who works for (or with) the brothers on the Palaver, is now scheming up another story to save his skin, by pointing the finger of guilt at the Ahwois.
Mr Bruce-Quansah has recently been forced to place his house up for auction to raise the ¢440 million damages slapped on his paper, the Ghana Palaver, by an Accra court. The auction is due to take place November 25.
The fine follows a libel suit filed against the newspaper by George Addo-Kufuor, a relation of President John Agyekum Kufuor. The paper had cited Mr Addo-Kufuor in a story as being a member of the Board of Directors of a transport company, Easy Link, the arrival of whose fleet of buses “turned the law on the right-hand drive upside down.”
A source told The Statesman that Mr Bruce-Quansah Tuesday had expressed his unhappiness to Alhaji Abu about the apparent unwillingness of the Ahwoi brothers to help him rescue his property from the auctioneer's gavel. Mr Bruce-Quansah allegedly went on to “confess” to his confidant the details of the alleged conspiracy.
The story allegedly told to Alhaji Abu Dana confirmed reports that the Palaver editor had panicked when he realised he was on the verge of losing his house, and speculation that the 'assault' had been a hoax.
The Weekend Crusading Guide of Friday November 11 also reported last-ditch attempts by Bruce-Quansah to save his house and name – including alleged reports that the troubled Editor had killed the only chicken on the compound and smeared the blood all over his shirt in order to fake the violent attack.