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13.02.2006 General News

Police Threaten Editor

By Chronicle

The Ghana Police Service, out of impatience and anger, last Thursday, February 9, ascended to the 6th floor of the Cocoa Board House in Sunyani and into the studios of SKY FM radio to confront The Chronicle's Brong Ahafo Regional Editor, over an investigative story he had authored in the paper's Tuesday, February 7 edition.

The two police officers who stormed the studios from the Regional Headquarters were the staff officer of the Regional Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abeka and the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Inspector Christopher Tawiah. The PRO, who was expected to have brought his professional expertise to bear, angrily charged at this reporter, saying, “You Kewura, you intentionally decided to run this programme on SKY to disgrace the police.”

The reporter had been invited to explain his investigative report on the programme, being hosted by Eric Owusu Sae, a presenter on the news show “ SKY FM Morning Show'.

On the programme was ASP Dapaa, Motor Transport Traffic Unit (MTTU) commander in charge of Sunyani Municipality, who was talking about police-driver relationship, and The Chronicle's front page story of Tuesday, February 7 edition, captioned, “Police Caught in Highway Robbery”.

The Chronicle story that had exposed extortions by some police personnel along the Techiman-Tamale and Bolgatanga-Bawku (T2-B2) road angered the police because the callers into the programme expressed their disgust and displeasure about extortions on the part of the police from drivers in the Sunyani municipality. This stung the police officers and provoked the PRO and the staff officer into the studios of SKY FM. In the presence of the host, Mr. Sae and some of the staff of the station, the inspector threatened the regional editor, hinting ominously that Kewura should know that he was alone and that the police were many.

The PRO went further to state that this was the second time Mr. Kewura had written a story against the police institution, adding, “You must be careful. You would one day need our protection and there, we shall teach you a lesson!” Inspector Tawiah also warned Mr. Kewura to change his reportage towards the police, as the institution was there to protect the people. The staff officer, ACP Abeka, who exhibited a high sense of maturity, stood between the PRO and the editor to calm down tempers.

He then advised both the PRO and The Chronicle reporter to stop exchanging words, as that would not solve the problem. The staff officer explained that they had come to the studio because they thought the police was not represented on the programme. The items on the station's agenda for discussion were, 'driver-police relations and The Chronicle's story'.

The MTTU commander educated drivers in the municipality about what to do as drivers, in order to avoid any police arrest and prosecutions. Some drivers plying the Sunyani municipality were also given the chance during a phone-in segment to tell the listeners of the programme about their experiences at the hands of the police.

When it was the turn of Mr. Kewura, the host wanted to know what had prompted him to conduct an investigation into the police extortion in the northern sector, a moot question, since it could only be part of his constitutional duty as a journalist to hold institutions accountable to the public.

Meanwhile, the Brong Ahafo bureau's electronic surveillance unit is sending copies of the incriminating recordings, as the head office is mulling over the options available to secure the editor and action against the threatening Public Relations Officer, which include formal report against him to the Inspector General of Police, the Police Council and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.