Journalist, head porters fined for defying lockdown directive

A 43-year-old journalist, who led a demonstration during the three-week lockdown in Accra, has been fined alongside nine others for violating social distancing restrictions.

Yahaya Alhassan and the other convicts were found guilty for an attempt to protest on issues they claimed were affecting Zongo communities.

The accused persons include a car washing assistant, Bassarou Moaro, 27; two driver’s mate, Alhassan Arafat, 21 and Issaka Mutakiru, 22; two headporters Abdul Gafa,19 and Zakari Salisu, 20.

The others are a construction labourer, Anim Emmanuel, 25; a trader Mohammed Nazif, 22; two unemployed persons, Abdulai Yahaya 32 and Mohammed Amin 48 years.

The 10 were convicted by the Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Susana Eduful, for their intent to hold a demonstration on May 5, 2020, despite the ban on social gathering.

They were charged on four counts–conspiracy to commit crime failure to notify police of desire to hold a special event, failure to notify the police of desire to hold a special event, conspiracy to commit a crime with failure to comply with the restrictions imposed on public gathering and failing to comply with the restrictions imposed on public gathering.

All 10 of them were found guilty of the offence.

They were each fined GHc 28,000 or in default go to prison for four years.

The prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Samuel Ahiabor, indicated that the Accra Regional Police Command received information on May 4, 2020, that some people were planning to demonstrate on May 5, 2020.

The intended demonstration was to take place near the private residence of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

On May 5, 2020, the police prosecutor said the police were on standby to avert any possible breach of the law.

About 10:30 am, the said group numbering about 50 had converged at Frankies Hotel at Nima holding placards.

Some inscriptions on the placards were ” Osafo Marfo don’t respect Bawumia,” “Why our northern sister,” “Betrayal of the people,” “Deny Hajia Tina, deny the entire Zongos” among others.

According to the prosecutor, while the demonstration was in progress, the police swoop in and arrested 10 of them including the leader Yahaya Alhassan.

The others fled in different directions and are still at large.

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