Social action group, OneGhana Movement, has backed calls for an independent probe to be conducted into the detention and assault of Citi News‘ Caleb Kudah by National Security operatives.
“We condemn these barbaric acts and join the call by OccupyGhana for an independent body to be set up by government to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency,” the group said in a statement.
The assault on Caleb Kudah last Tuesday has dominated discussions in Ghana.
Mr. Kudah was detained and assaulted by National Security operatives for filming abandoned MASLOC vehicles parked at the premises of the security agency.
Some heavily-armed National Security operatives subsequently stormed the premises of Citi FM/Citi TV to pick up Broadcast Journalist, Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo for receiving some of the files captured by Mr. Kudah.
In the statement, OneGhana Movement condemned the action by the National Security insisting that the action is a breach of Ghana’s Constitution.
“The action of the National Security operatives amounted to an illegality and a breach of the Constitution (1992). The Constitution guarantees the fundamental human right of ‘all persons’.”
The statement noted that the National Security seems to be operating as a police service, which is illegal.
“It is also worrying to note that the National Security is almost operating a “police service”. The National Security Ministry is not a police service, it is an intelligence agency and should operate as such. Article 200 (2) provides that no person or authority shall raise any police service except by or under the authority of an act of Parliament.”
“The modus operandi of the Nationality Security, as it is now, amounts to usurpation of the powers of the IGP and a breach of the constitution of Ghana. Indeed, similar findings were made against the National Security in the Ayawaso West Commission Report where the Commission recommended among others that the SWAT team be disbanded. To date these recommendations have been ignored,” the statement added.
The management of Citi FM/Citi TV has since petitioned the National Media Commission over the assault on Caleb Kudah and the invasion of the station.
The National Security Ministry also said it was investigating the issue.
Below is the full statement from OneGhana Movement
It has come to the attention of ONEGHANA® that Caleb Kudah, a journalist at Citi FM and Citi TV was brutalized by officers of the National Security Ministry when he went to their premises to take a video of MASLOC cars which have been packed there for some time now.
Also a colleague of Mr. Kudah, Mrs. Zoe Abu- Baidoo was also physically and psychologically assaulted and intimated by the National Security operative on Tuesday the 11th day of May 2021.
Mr. Kudah recounted the horrific experience he went through for several hours at the premises of the National Security Ministry on the “Point of View Show” a Citi TV program on Wednesday 12th May 2921.
Mr. Kudah’s own testimony and other news reports show that he was unlawfully arrested, handcuffed, and subjected to illegitimate and inhumane treatment including hefty slaps, kicks from booted feet to his groin, and molestation. These were the words on Mr. Kudah on the show:
“They push me and I sat on the chair. They (National Security Operatives Operatives) slapped me from the back, I was trying to appeal to them that they have beaten me enough, but they were just slapping me from the back. I‘ll be talking to another and someone will just come and slap me from the back”
We have also viewed footage of the raid of the premises of Citi FM and Citi TV by officers of National Security Ministry, to track down and pick up Mrs. Zoe Abu- Baidoo. She narrated on the Point of View Show how she was chased to Citi TV Cafeteria after she declined to follow the instructions of the security operatives from the National Security to “come with them” and insisted that they talked to her superior first.
She was threatened with a gun-actually one of the officers cocked a gun in the midst of simultaneous shouts from the officer for her to be arrested.
Needless to say, she was intimidated and ordered to delete all her personal videos on her phone when she was compelled to go to the office of the National Security Ministry.
We condemn these barbaric acts and join the call by OccupyGhana for an independent body to be set up by government to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.
The action of the National Security operatives amounted to an illegality and a breach of the Constitution (1992). The Constitution guarantees the fundamental human right of “ALL PERSONS”:
First of all Article 14(1 ) provides that every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.
Secondly, Article 14(2) provides that a person who is arrested restricted or detained shall be informed immediately in a language that he understands, of the reason for his arrest, restriction, or detention and of his right to a lawyer of his choice.
Thirdly Article 15(1) provides that the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
Further Article (2) provides that no person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted, or detained be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
Lastly, 19 (5) provides that a person shall not be charged with or held to be guilty of a criminal offence which is found on an act or omission, that did not at the time it took place constitute an offence.
The press statement issued by the National Security Ministry (NSM) does not reveal that Mr. Kudah was informed of the crime for his arrest, at the time of arrest and indeed to date, the NSM has not been able to point to any specific offence in the laws of Ghana.
The statement indicates that Mr. Kudah entered the premise by false pretense. We are sorry to state that this “purported” offence of “false pretense” is not known under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) neither does “no taking of photographs’ constitute an offence under the law.
All persons including states institution are subject to the rule of law. If the National Security operatives were of the view that Mr. Kudah had violated any law, what they should have done was to follow due process.
It also worrying to note that the National Security is almost operating a “Police Service”. The National Security Ministry is not a police service, it is an intelligence agency and should operate as such.
Article 200 (2) provides that no person or authority shall raise any police service except by or under the authority of an act of Parliament.
The modus operandi of the Nationality Security, as it is now, amounts to usurpation of the powers of the IGP and a breach of the constitution of Ghana. Indeed, similar findings were made against the National Security in the Ayawaso West Commission Report where the Commission recommended among others that the SWAT team be disbanded. To date, these recommendations have been ignored.
We recall that when Mr. Emmanuel Ajafor a journalist with Modern Ghana was arrested by National Security operatives in a similar incident, the National Security Authority issued a press statement in which they promised to investigate the matter but nothing came out of it.
We think that the call on government by OCCUPYGHANA as was done in the case of “Ayawaso Wagon” should be supported by all well-meaning Ghanaians.