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Mpohor fake kidnap: Journalist, boyfriend remanded

Two persons arrested in a recent kidnapping case at Mpohor described by the police as a hoax, have been remanded by a court in Takoradi.

The accused persons who were denied bail are to spend two weeks in police custody and reappear in court on November 16, 2021.

The duo, Stephen Kumi and Nhyiraba Paa Kwesi Simpson, a broadcast journalist with Connect 97.1 FM.

Initial investigations by the police revealed Stephen Kumi claimed that his girlfriend Stephanie Kumiwaa, 26, had been kidnapped at Mpohor on 17 October 2021 leading to the publication.

However, checks at the Mpohor Police District Command indicated that no such case had been reported there.

The police say based on the publication, they arrested Stephen Kumi and Paa Kwesi Simpson to assist in investigations.

Accra based Citi FM reported that they have both been charged with the publication of false news with the intent of causing fear and alarm contrary to the Public Order Act, and false publication of news through an electronic device contrary to the Electronic Communications Act, 775 of 2008.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charges proffered against them in court on Thursday, 4 November 2021.

Background

A report of an alleged case of kidnapping involving a 26-year-old woman, Stephanie Kumiwaa, received attention in sections of the media.

A statement from the police, however, said checks at the Mpohor Police District Command indicated that no such case had been reported there.

The police thus insisted that the kidnapping story was untrue.

During interrogation, Stephen Kumi told the police that he met the victim on Facebook, and they started dating.

On October 17, 2021, Stephanie called to inform him that she was visiting him but did not show up.

Two days after, the accused boyfriend said he received a call from a friend of Stephanie saying that someone had called her using Stephanie’s phone.

The friend informed him the suspected kidnappers were demanding a ransom of GH¢2,000.00.

Police subsequently escorted suspect Stephen Kumi to Mpohor and all efforts to locate the residence, family relations of Stephanie and Sandra for confirmation of the alleged incident proved futile.

“The Western Regional Police Command wants to use this opportunity to remind the media that they should cross-check all information from the Command for confirmation before publications are done. The police will continue to collaborate with them to combat crime in the region,” the police statement added.

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