Counsel for dancehall artiste Charles Nii Armah Mensah has criticised the prosecution team for employing ‘delay tactics’ in the case in which the musician falsely claimed that he had been shot.
A not-too-happy counsel, Jerry Avenogbor, made the critique while expressing his disappointment at the prosecution’s request for a longer adjourned date.
“For the past three months, all they do is ask for an adjournment,” Mr Avenogbor lamented.
The 37-year-old musician Shatta Wale and three others were hauled before the Accra Circuit Court on 21 October 2021.
The artiste is alleged to have masterminded false information suggesting that he was shot by unknown assailants at East Legon and was receiving treatment for bullet wounds at an undisclosed health facility.
Shatta has since pleaded not guilty to the count of publication of false news that caused fear and panic in the public domain.
Three accomplices, Kojo Owusu Koranteng, Shatta’s personal assistant; Eric Vanetor, a graphic designer; and Iddrisu Yussif, a beautician; were also charged for abetment of criminal publication of false news.
Andrew Vortia and Samuel Ofori, representing the two other accused persons, also expressed disappointment for the delay.
“The accused persons were arrested with speed and aggression and put before the court only for the prosecution to go back to sleep,” Mr Ofori wondered the reason for the delay.
Mr Vortia prayed the court to consider an acquittal and discharge of the accused persons.
A prosecution team led by Chief Inspector Denis Terkpetey in his defence accused the lawyers of violating a gentleman’s agreement on the matter.
He said the parties were accordingly expected to collaborate in the arrest of another suspect in the matter, but the lawyers have since failed to cooperate with the state in that regard.
Chief Inspector Terkpetey told the court that the state would resort to every means in arresting the said suspect, who happens to be the sister of Shatta Wale.
Shatta Wale’s sister is said to be the person who reported the incident of the alleged fake gunshot to the East Legon Police.
The case has been adjourned to 15 February 2022.
Shatta Wale is currently on a 100,000 self-recognisance bail, with the other three on a GHc100, 000 bail.
Shatta Wale’s apology
The artiste took to social media to apologise to his fans and other people who had been affected by what he described as a prank.
He claimed he took the phones of the team members and made the fake post.
He cited a prophecy that was made by the founder and leader of New Life Kingdom Chapel International, Stephen Akwasi, that he would be shot dead on 18 October 2021.
Shatta Wale was surprised that the security services could not give him protection after that prophecy.
“So the police of this country want to tell me that none of them saw those threatening statements online to take action?
“This pastor said 18 October, Shatta Wale will be shot, and you want to tell me you didn’t see from your cybercrime department, nor did you hear or come across anything like that online?
“I won’t wait for Ghana police to call my father and tell my father his son got shot this afternoon. I won’t wait for Ghana stupid media houses to spread the news to my fans about me being shot because all we wish in this country is for dead people and funerals.
“If my life can be threatened and there is no law to take action on that, then I guess I will do what is right in the eyes of God,” he posted on Facebook.
In a viral video, Bishop Stephen Akwasi predicted that Shatta Wale would lose his life on 18 October, similar to that of South African reggae artist Lucky Dube, who was shot on 18 October 2007.
The pastor in question was subsequently arrested on 19 October, at the premises of Accra FM while preparing for an interview on the station’s mid-morning show.
He was charged for causing fear and panic. He, however, pleaded not guilty and was remanded into prison custody for five days.