A 32-year-old TV presenter has been fined GH¢4,200.00 by the Kaneshie District Court for publication of false news.
This was after the accused, Nana Osei Bonsu Hoahi, a presenter at Next TV, changed his not guilty plea to guilty plea to the charge of the publication of false news.
He was convicted on his own plea by the court presided over by Ama Adomako Kwakye.
Mr Bonsu Hoahi and one Akwesi Asare alias Osofo Kwesi were charged for conspiracy and publication of false news against Francis Antwi, popularly known as Rev Obofour, in 2020.
Unlike Mr Bonsu Hoahi, the second accused, Asare, admitted the offence in his first appearance and was convicted and fined GH¢3,600.00.
They both made their first appearance on 19 June 2020, but the first accused, Bonsu Hoahi, denied the offence until Tuesday, August 9, when he changed his plea.
The court accordingly convicted him on his own guilty plea and sentenced him to a fine of 250 and 350 penalty units equivalent to GH¢3,000 and GH¢4,200, respectively.
The sentences the court said should run concurrently, which means he will pay the fine of only GH¢4200, which is the highest of the two fines.
In default, he will serve a two-month custodial sentence.
The prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Richard Amoah, prayed for an order for the convict to retract the false publication made against Rev. Obofour on the Next TV and also to publish a retraction in the Daily Graphic.
The brief facts of the case were that Nana Osei Bonsu Hoahi, who is the first accused, is a TV presenter at the Next TV station and resides in Batsonaa.
While convict Akwasi Asare, the second accused alias Osofo Kwesi, was an accomplice who pleaded guilty on the first appearance and was sentenced to a fine.
On 4 June 2020, the accused (Nana Bonsu) lodged a complaint with the police that convict Akwesi Asare called him on the phone while hosting a program on Next TV station dubbed “Time with Hoahi” that he witnessed the killing of the late Mary Ackah alias Ewulley at a village called Compound in Jomoro District in the Western Region in the year 2016 which was perpetrated by Rev Obofour and three others.
The convict, Akwesi Asare, had added that Rev. Obofour once met him at Nzulezu lodge and offered him a car and money to conceal what he witnessed, but he declined the offer.
Nana Bonsu also claimed that on receipt of the information, he went to the said village to conduct investigations and found out that convict Osofo Akwesi’s assertion was true.
Following the accusations, on 9 June 2020, suspect Francis Antwi known as Rev. Obofour, was arrested for his involvement in the case, but he denied the offence in his statement.
The prosecution said on June 14, 2020, a team of investigators, together with the convict, Osofo Kwesi, proceeded to Jomoro District in the Western Region to conduct thorough investigations at Elubo, Compound, Apataba, Sowodadiemu and Half Assini.
After investigations, it came to light that all the allegations levelled against suspect Rev. Obofour were untrue.
“Further investigations proved that the murder took place in the year 2006 as against the year 2016 as postulated by the accused person and convict, Osofo Kwesi.
“In the course of investigations, convict Akwesi Asare, who claimed to have witnessed the killing of the woman, confessed that the allegation was a total frame-up to tarnish the image of suspect Rev. Obofuor for his incarceration,” as narrated.
He then pleaded guilty to all the counts and was subsequently convicted. In course of the investigation, convict Akwesi Asare confessed that he was contracted by the accused person for a ransom of GH¢30, 000.
“Convict Akwasi Asare further stated that the accused person bought him an Android phone and cash of GH¢1,200 as part payment. After an investigation, it was clear that the accused person conclusively published and told lies to his audience which could not be substantiated by the police,” the prosecutor explained.