Whatsup News Editor arrested in relation to extortion, false news – Police

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has provided reasons for the arrest of the Editor of Whatsup News, David Tamakloe.

Mr Tamakloe was arrested on Friday, April 2, with MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, stating that he was arrested without any reason.

However, the CID has explained that he was picked up in connection with extortion and publication of false news.

“Suspect was arrested on alleged offences of an attempt to commit a crime to wit: extortion contrary to section 18(1) and 151(1) and the publication of false news contrary to section 208 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29),” DSP Juliana Obeng, the head of the Criminal Investigative Department (CID)’s Public Affairs said in a statement.

The suspect was later released on police enquiry bail to a surety to report on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, for further action, the police release said.

The law enforcement agency further denied effecting the arrest of Mr Tamakloe at gunpoint.

Shortly after his arrest, the MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, implored the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to release Mr Tamakloe from custody, to enable him to celebrate Easter.

While condemning the “Rambo-styled” arrest of the news editor of the virtual newspaper, the lawmaker said the deliberate arrest of Mr Tamakloe a day before Good Friday makes it difficult for him to be bailed until the holidays were over.

“This is Inhumane, unacceptable, backward and smacks of abuse of police powers,” he said.

According to the MP, the journalist was arrested at gunpoint and a lawyer who followed up on the case, was not provided reasons for the arrest.

“It is important that our security operatives operate on the basis of transparency and with a certain sense of integrity. The image of the security agencies continue to decline over the years following the arbitrary and unexplained arrests of innocent citizens,” he noted in a statement.

The MP wants the journalist to be allowed his freedom until after Easter and if “any prima facie determination is made” he can be properly arraigned in court so he would take steps to defend himself in the matter.

Mr Tamakloe was later captured in a photo with private legal practitioner Godwin Edudzu Tamekloe after his release.

Previous arrest

It is not the first time Mr Tamakloe had been arrested.

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, he was arrested in Accra in relation to a news item capturing the concerns raised by some Ewes and Northerners resident in the New Edubiase Constituency in the Ashanti Region.

According to the police, Mr Tamakloe was arrested based on a bench warrant issued by the New Edubiase District Court, because he had failed to honour an invitation extended to him to assist the police in their investigations into the complaint.

This drew condemnation from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Private Newspaper and Online Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other institutions.

Arrest of other journalists

Several other journalists have been arrested for alleged offences in the past.

The most recent was in December ahead of the 2020 elections.

A journalist with Accra-based Power FM, Oheneba Boamah Bennie, was picked up for allegedly insulting and threatening President Akufo-Addo.

The radio presenter is said to have recorded a live video on his Facebook page in which he was allegedly heard insulting and issuing a series of threats to the President.

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