General News of Monday, 20 February 2017
It is unnecessary to penalise security officials at the Flagstaff House for allegedly leaking a tape showing an assault on a policeman by suspected members of the New Patriotic Party’s Invincible Forces, Dr Richard Amoako Baah, former Head of Department of History and Political Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University and Technology, has said.
“It is not a good thing. We have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Yes, sometimes we don’t want these things to come out because it puts a bad spin on what is happening but we should not punish the messenger,” he said.
He made this point on Monday, 20 February during an interview with Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show.
A military officer is currently in detention at a guardroom at Burma Camp for allegedly leaking a CCTV tape which captured persons suspected to be members of the Invincible Forces.
The 45-year-old military officer, name withheld, was on duty at the Flagstaff House when the alleged assault on the senior police officer took place on 9 January, two days after Nana Akufo-Addo’s investiture, and is suspected to have leaked the CCTV clip which has gone viral on social media.
Narrating her husband’s ordeal on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Monday, 20 February, Abena (pseudonym) said her husband had been detained without food and water since Friday, 17 February. “He has been detained for 72 hours now with no food or water,” she told show host Moro Awudu.
“He called me on Friday that he had been called to report to the Flagstaff House but he didn’t know…why he had been called. So he left home in the afternoon and around 3:00pm, he called me that they were taking him to the office of the BNI with a couple of other soldiers. After that call, I didn’t hear anything from him again. His phone went off. … At about 11:00pm, I had a call from someone that they had released some of the soldiers taken to BNI to report today (Monday February 20) and that my husband was one of those who were being detained. So I started getting worried because if you have not charged him with any offence why do you keep him there?”
Abena narrated that she had an anonymous call from a Good Samaritan that her husband had been taken to Burma Camp where he was detained. According to her, she visited Burma Camp to give him food on Saturday evening after he had gone the whole of Friday and Saturday morning and afternoon without food or water.
Asked what the husband had told her when she visited him at Burma Camp, Abena replied: “He said he was questioned about how that video got out and he was accused of being on duty on that day, so he was a suspect for leaking the video,” adding: “But they don’t have any proof, so I don’t see why they should keep him there.”
“He was on duty on that day and he wasn’t even aware something like that was going on. He has nothing to do with this issue.”
She said her husband was “devastated and down” and did not understand why he was being treated that way when she spoke to him. He was, however, not tortured or manhandled.
When the EBS team contacted the Director of Operations at the Flagstaff House, Lord Commey, for government’s side of the story, he replied via text: “I don’t think I’m the right person to talk to. From your narrative, I think it’s a purely security matter which I don’t think I’m competent enough to speak on. I may be of help in some other way or form.”
Dr Baah, who saw the development as an unfortunate situation, charged the governing party to clamp down on such misconduct.
“If it didn’t happen he couldn’t have videotaped it, so it is not good, but at the same time the Flagstaff House should take time to make sure that people are not able to do these things at will,” he admonished.