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Journalist Arrested For Treason

Justice Annan

Justice Annan

Government has ordered the arrest of Justice Annan, a journalist, for allegedly making treasonable remarks about the President, while taking part in a radio programme last week. Mr Annan has been ordered to report at the CID headquarters at 10.00am today as part of his bail condition.

DAILY GUIDE reported last Saturday that there was an unusual movement by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Thursday evening when a squad from the unit stormed the studios of Accra-based Asempa FM over a panelist’s allegation that the Ghana Armed Forces are angry with President John Evans Atta Mills and could be planning something sinister against him.

Annan was an investigative journalist with the National Security-sponsored newspaper, ‘The Informer’  from where he was sacked upon ‘orders from above’ for being anti-government in his reportage. Justice Annan’s brush with government, for which he was arrested on Friday and now on bail, is a complex one, a fallout from an alleged power-play in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a personal row, he claims, between him and the Communications Director of the President, Koku Anyidoho, and the Deputy Information Minister James Agyenim-Boateng.

Meanwhile, Justice Annan has denied ever stating that if President Mills knew what was cooking for him in the Armed Forces, he would wear a metal cap to protect himself against the imminent trouble. He claimed it is a ploy by Anyidoho to put him in trouble because according to him, “I never said that.”

Speaking exclusively to DAILY GUIDE at the weekend, Mr Annan said he was invited by Kojo Preko of Asempa FM to discuss the President’s visit to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the fire at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the demolition of 300 houses at Achimota.

During the discussion, there was a playback of TOR workers making their demands, especially about salary arrears which according to him re-echoed his position that the military too are unhappy about the President’s inability to fulfill his promise about some arrears to them.

According to him, information reaching him suggests that some peeved Commanders had removed the Commander-In-Chief’s pictures from their offices, a disclosure he made on air. “Koku Anyidoho at this stage called into the programme to say that I was committing treason by my submission, at which stage some calls came in, one of which was from the Military High Command and another from the Police,” he said.

At this stage, Mr Annan disclosed, he sensed danger and left the premises of the radio station following the termination of the programme. A squad of detectives from the CID headquarters was already downstairs but the men did not recognize him and so he whizzed past them without notice.

The detectives, he gathered, later went to Cox Tamakloe, the programme director who told them that he (Justice Annan) had left Asempa. They made away with a copy of the discussion on CD, he said, and the Director General of the CID, DCOP Adu Poku, later invited him for questioning, to which he said he could not oblige at the time.

The CID Chief, he said, told him that he had a copy of the CD on the discussion on Asempa FM “and I asked him whether there was anything derogatory on it”. A deal was struck that he meets the CID Chief on Friday 10.00am at the CID headquarters, an agreement he fulfilled in the company of Lawyer Anthony Mensah from Ataa Akyea’s Chambers.

“I was asked a number of questions by the CID Chief and others. They asked me about my political affiliation, my intentions and why, according to them, I was inciting the military against the government. When he asked my view about the President’s visit to TOR, I said “it is an indictment on the Energy Minister.”

Other interrogators included the CID Director of Operations, ACP Robert Ayalingo, the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).
He said he was subsequently moved to the second floor and then the fourth floor for further probing.

“There was a 6-man panel waiting for me and here I spent 15 minutes. I was sent to the second floor once more and here I was cautioned on Section 581 Clause 1 which deals with false reporting and injuring the reputation of the state. I was asked to write a statement which I did,” he said.

At this stage, he was asked to wait as they awaited a clearance from superior authority and this, he added, took some 20 minutes. He was bailed and asked to report today at the same venue. He told DAILY GUIDE that he is not scared about what is happening to him but surprised that this is happening in a democracy and against the backdrop of the fact that the media cannot be ignored in such a system of government.

As a spokesperson for the embattled Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the man who hurled a stone into the hornet’s nest recently when he addressed a number of challenges in the ruling party, Justice Annan is considered fair game in the raging belligerence.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), he said, is gradually shifting towards a particular power bloc. Pointing at the fact that Dr. Spio Garbrah is seeking the Vice Chairmanship of the party, he said charlatans within the political grouping want him (Justice Annan) dealt with because of his relationship with the man they consider a thorn in their flesh.

“They have been unable to tell me exactly what I have done wrong other than I go on radio and talk. During a recent radio programme, there was a call from the Castle complaining that I was talking too much. It was because I had mentioned the name of the Ahwois,” he said.

He recalled how during a radio programme at Radio Gold, Mr. Agyenim-Boateng stormed into the studio, looked at him and said, “I did not know that you are such a coward. I would have dealt with you. You are the least of the problems we are confronting.”

His appointment with The Informer newspaper was terminated following an order from the corridors of power because his anti-establishment comments were ruffling the feathers of government.

No sooner had he suffered the stress of losing his job than the threat of being slapped with a charge of treason by the state looms. The media would watch with keen interest the unfolding development which for them is a test case for government’s sincerity about upholding media freedom and free expression.

Source: dailyguideghana.com

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