Politics Fri, 11 Feb 2022

Arrest of Bobie Ansah is a diversionary tactic against E-Levy resistance – NDC

NDC officials visit Bobie Ansah in police custody

Bobie Ansah put before court

Court grants Accra FM journalist GHC50,000 bail

The opposition National Democratic Congress has described the Thursday night arrest of Accra FM journalist, Kwabena Bobie Ansah as a diversionary tactic aimed at shifting focus from discussions around the controversial E-Levy.

The broadcaster was picked up by security operatives on Thursday, February 10, 2022, after which a police statement was issued the next day. According to the statement, he was to be charged with publication of false news and offensive conduct.

Speaking to the media at the Accra Central Police Station before the journalist was arraigned on Friday, the National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo said the government has resorted to arrests of vocal journalists in order to divert focus from resistance against the E-Levy.

“In the past 3 days after we decided to embark on this demonstration against the e-levy, you will see that all forms of machinations have been put in place. Within a period of 72 hours, Oheneba, the ASEPA boss and Bobie who are all in the forefront of the agitation against this E-levy have been arrested. We believe that this is one of the diversionary tactics and we are not going to allow this one to distract us at all,” he stated after leading an NDC delegation to visit the embattled Bobie Ansah.

The NDC Chairman however urged supporters of his party to continue resisting and agitating against the proposed tax policy as a means of solidarity with the arrested journalist.

“I want to urge teeming supporters of the NDC and the other coalition partners to stand shoulder to shoulder and continue with the agitation against the E-levy because this one cannot divert us or intimidate us in any way,” he stated.

He noted that the NDC will make available legal support for all persons who have been arrested for fighting the proposed 1.5% levy to be imposed on Electronic Transactions by government.

“We are putting the party legal team at the disposal of all those people who are being intimidated to ensure that they are given the necessary legal support,” he added.

Bobie Ansah was arrested and detained on Thursday night and according to the police, it had investigated claims by the journalist that the first and second ladies of Ghana had appropriated some state lands to themselves. The claims, following investigations were established as untrue.

He was thus arraigned before the Kaneshie Magistrate Court on Friday on charges of publication of false news and offensive conduct.

But reacting to the development in a Twitter post sighted by GhanaWeb, Kwakye-Ofosu accused the second lady of having double standards and being a hypocrite.

Mr. Ofosu shared a 2016 publication by GhanaWeb, in which the second lady during a campaign event, tagged then President John Dramani Mahama as corrupt.

The former deputy minister pointed out the similarity between the 2016 statement by the second lady and that made by the embattled journalist.

“In 2016, Samira Bawumia launched this senseless attack on Prez Mahama. She was neither arrested nor put on trial. Bobie Ansah is on trial for saying something about her,” Kwakye-Ofosu tweeted.

In a statement on Friday morning, the police said Bobie Ansah "on January 11, 2022, while hosting the Citizen Show on Accra FM, together with three others, allegedly made several statements against some individuals."

According to the police, while its investigations into the said allegations made by Bobie Ansah and his guests established same to be false, several attempts to get the journalist and his guests to honour an invitation to assist in investigations failed, hence his arrest.

A video of the January 11, 2022 show hosted by Bobie Ansah as sighted by GhanaWeb indicates the said allegations by the journalist and his guests were made against the first lady of the Republic, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

Bobie Ansah, during the show, accused the first lady of appropriating state lands to herself for the use of her private foundation.

"Do you know that Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira have appropriated for themselves the aviation lands?" he questioned in a short video of the programme obtained by GhanaWeb.

"As I speak to you today, there are Chinese nationals working on the aviation lands that were acquired by Kwame Nkrumah for the state for the expansion of the aviation sector for its growth. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has had the guts to apportion the state land to herself and is putting up a project in the name of her foundation – an NGO," he added.

While raving about the allegations, Bobie Ansah, who is known to be an ardent critic of President Akufo-Addo, further accused the first lady of joining the president in what he described as thievery and corruption.

"I used to think it was Akufo-Addo and his family members alone who were doing evil to the nation, but the woman has also joined. Per documents I have received... the bad and evil she wants to do to the nation.. the thing is Rebecca is a thief," his rant was interrupted by one of the guests on the show who was prompting him to exercise restraint in his comment.

While Bobie Ansah was being prompted by one of the guests, the remaining two of the three guests urged him on.

The show then continued with the host showing a video of the supposed project site of the alleged Rebecca Foundation construction.

Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama has described the journalist's arrest as a confirmation of a growing criminalization of speech and journalism under the current government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

According to Mr Mahama, he deems the situation under the current administration as appalling.

The former president made this known in an open letter addressed to his successor on Friday, February 11, 2022, following the journalist's arrest.

Meanwhile the journalist appearing before the Kaneshie Court on Friday was granted a GHC50,000 bail and has been asked to reappear on Monday, February 14, 2022.
Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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