Media, NDC under fire over T’di ‘fake’ kidnap saga

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Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah, convenor of Fixing the Country

Fixing the Country Movement, a pro-government group, has descended on the NDC and a section of the media for their attacks on the Ghana Police Service and the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, in the wake of the alleged ‘fake’ Takoradi ‘pregnant’ woman kidnap saga.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, the group noted that it is inevitable that media outlets will make mistakes on complex stories, and should therefore be forgiven when such unfortunate situation arises, in especially if done in good faith.

The group said that was, however, not the case in the ‘fake’ kidnap saga, when some media houses and the NDC made it a habit to take the Police and the Regional Minister to the cleaners.

“This fake abduction story has once again highlighted another monstrous media failure in this country,” Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah, convenor of the group, said.

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“The magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and mainstream news, the level of journalistic recklessness that corroborated this story, and the amount of damage and danger they caused is quite staggering.

“Even when the woman herself finally finds her tongue and confesses she was never pregnant, sections of the media still insisted she was pregnant. Indeed, the entire kidnap scenario looked too contrived and yet the NDC and its media collaborators were on rampage,” he added.

Residents join condemnation

Meanwhile, majority of Sekondi-Takoradi residents have also heavily descended on the media for attacking Mr Okyere Darko-Mensah for promptly coming out to describe the supposed kidnapping and pregnancy of 28-year-old Josephine Panyin Mensah as fake.

The angry residents say many journalists did not show professionalism in handling the issue. They insist that the attacks on the Regional Minister were needless, and that those journalists who sought to tear him into shreds should use the same medium to apologize to him.

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Some of them who spoke to Daily Statesman reminded the journalists that Mr Okyere Darko-Mensah is a fine, intelligent gentleman who would not put his credibility on the line by lying in such a sensitive issue. Again, they said, as chairman of the Regional Security Council, Mr Okyere Darko-Mensah has classified information unknown to the public and shouldn’t have been ‘crucified’ for dismissing Josephine’s kidnapping and pregnancy.

Confession

The woman at the centre of the kidnap story, Josephine Panyin Mensah, is reported to have confessed that she was never pregnant and that she faked her own kidnap. This was contained in a statement released by the Ghana Police Service.

“The suspect, Josephine Panyin Mensah, 28, has confessed to the Police during further investigations and stated that neither was she pregnant nor ever being kidnapped. The public will be updated with further details,” police stated in the statement.

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Charged

Meanwhile, Ms Mensah has been charged with two counts of deceiving public officers and publication of false news to put fear in public. Appearing before the Takoradi Habour Circuit Court A, she pleaded not guilty to the charges. She was however granted a bail of GH¢50,000

The lead counsel of the suspect, Philip Fiifi Buckman, had argued that his client had already spent some days in police custody before praying the court for a bail.

Addressing the media after the proceedings, Mr Buckman said the charges levelled against his client are misdemeanours.

He explained that “even if she is found guilty, she will not be sentenced more than six months.”

 

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