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26.07.2005 General News

IGP Warns Kwesi Pratt


*As Insight Editor storms 'Hotel Kufuor'

THE INSPECTOR General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Kwateng Acheampong, has cautioned the Managing Editor of THE INSIGHT newspaper, Mr Kwesi Pratt Jnr., against his intention to march to the $3.5 million property said to be owned by President Kufuor's son, John Addo 'Chief' Kufuor, to take photo shots of it.

According to the IGP, the position Mr. Pratt takes on his mission would determine if the men on duty would halt him or not, explaining that if he stands close to the President's building, his men might move on him.

Speaking on Peace FM 'Kokrokoo' morning show yesterday, the IGP said though the police cannot stop Pratt from exercising what he see as his right, the Insight Managing Editor's interpretation of the laws of the country could engender a reaction from others who could also see his action as an example to take the opportunity to express their right at the same time.

He said the question of whether Pratt would be allowed to photograph the building or not rests between Mr. Pratt and the owner of the building, and that if the owner's interpretation of the law is different, he was not in a position to say what would happen.

“If his (Pratt) interpretation of the law is to wake up and begin to take pictures of people and others' buildings then he can go ahead”, the IGP said, adding that there is no way one can use his or her freedom to do what he likes irrespective of the freedom of others.

There are laws in every civilised society, he stressed, adding that if everyone decides to overlook laid down rules of the land, there won't be any public order.

On what the police would do if Pratt and an assembly turn out at the place, the IGP retorted, “let's wait and see”.

He explained that what happened to the TV Africa crew was a result of misunderstanding between the journalists and the police on guard duty at the President's private home that day.

He denied that the TV crew were arrested and detained, asking that if they were detained, why were they released without the condition of a bail. Technically, what happened on the faithful day was questioning, he said.

He also explained that his outfit regrets the fact that there was no female police officer around to search the only lady who was allegedly searched by a male officer, and the lack of a superior officer around at the time to conduct the questioning of the journalists, leading to a delay of the men and lady of the inky fraternity.

The Inspector General of Police said the situation was unfortunate, indicating that it came about because there was misinterpretation of motives on both sides.

Mr. Acheampong said it was regular and normal security precautions for the Police and other security agencies to find out the identity and motives of persons that were seen filming certain strategic locations such as the area around the President's private home without prior notification.

He said this is part of a “general security alert” that has been issued to all personnel in view of the recent crime trends in the country and on the global scene, citing the recent terrorist bombings in London as a typical example.

On the same programme, Pratt insisted that the security officers had no business picking up the journalists and repeated his intention to call the bluff of people he implied belonged to the ruling NPP, whom he said had threatened to beat him up.

He said his planned action was in solidarity with TV Africa. Nobody should be allowed to intimidate any of us as Ghanaians and as journalists from abandoning our duty to ourselves in the defence of civil liberty and I intend to go to “Hotel Kufuor at 12 noon on Wednesday with my camera,” he said.