The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has arrested a Multimedia journalist for filming the aftermath of a demolition exercise conducted by the assembly at Mensah Guinea, a suburb of Accra.
The journalist went to film living conditions of people in the community after the demolition exercise of which they were given only three days’ notice.
Joynews’ Joojoh Cobbinah and Festus Solomon, reporters at the scene said while they were filming and speaking to some people in the community they were informed that the Mayor had come to arrest them.
He said with the help of some residents he was able to escape before the police arrived at the scene but the driver Felix Akunor who was with them was arrested.
Mr. Akunor said the Mayor seized his phone to prevent him from alerting his two-man crew who were covering a story about how some residents were dealing with a recent demolition of their homes.
The driver said he was picked up by two police men, the Accra Mayor Alfred Okoh Vanderpuije and staff of AMA, for parking at the Mensah Guinea slum, which had been demolished.
He said he was ordered to drive to the Ministries Police Station. “I told the police I had not committed any crime but they insisted that I write a statement about what I was doing at the community.”
At the police station Mr, Akunor said he was interrogated for about two hours by police officers.
The Mayor, who followed the police to the Ministries Police station, picked up a police statement form and drove away to write his statement.
When Head of Joynews Television Channel Emma Morrison and the Programmes Manager of Multi TV Abdulai Awudu spent over an hour at the police station inquiring why the driver had been arrested.
The Police could not tell why they kept the driver but added that they were investigating why the Mayor will cause the arrest of the driver.
One of the policemen said, “maybe he was arrested because of national interest”
The Mayor who returned to the police station refused to engage staff of Multimedia who had come to post bail for the release of the driver. He waved them off, entered the crime office, presented his statement and drove off.
After the head of Joynews TV signed the bail, the police asked her to bring the driver back for full investigations into the issue on Monday at 10 am. The Mayor is also expected to be at the police station to explain why he caused the arrest of the driver.
However the Mr. Vanderpuije told Joynews he ordered the arrest of the journalist because they were fabricating stories “I had received a call that reporters from Adom TV had come over here and told the people they are here to help so they got them to lie down on the ground in batches and they were filming them to make a case that government had made them homeless”.
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