Zoe Abu-Baidoo and Caleb Kudah
The Ministry of National Security has reversed the secondment of Lt. Col. Frank Agyekum, Director of Operations for what it describes as his inappropriate conduct in the arrest of Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah.
The action of the ministry was however, double-edged, as it simultaneously found the journalist’s conduct of entering the National Security facility unlawful.
The action is the outcome of an investigation ordered by the President when the arrest of the journalist gained prominence in the media recently.
The military officer has been directed to report to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) “for further action and investigation.”
In a statement authored by the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, the ministry also ordered the three police officers who took part in the arrest of the journalist on May 11, 2021, to return to the Ghana Police Service for disciplinary action for their inappropriate conduct.
According to the statement, the investigation conducted by the ministry established that “the conduct of Lt. Col. Frank Agyekum and some officers was inappropriate and was a contravention of the ministry’s standard procedures.”
The committee also established that Caleb Kudah acted unlawfully for entering the premises of the National Security without authorisation.
The National Security Ministry has assured the public and the media that it will expeditiously deal with complaints lodged against its personnel.
It added that the tenets of National Security should be based on a ‘Whole-of-Government’ and ‘Whole-of-Society’ approach and as it put it “cooperation from all well-meaning Ghanaians.”
Measures, the ministry went on, will be put in place to ensure the maintenance of the highest professional standards to engender public trust.
The media space following the arrest of Citi TV reporter by National Security operatives for filming the facility and transmitting same to a destination, was near deafening.
The reaction of the public was divided with a section accusing the journalist of acting unlawfully for entering a National Security premises without authority and evening filming. For another section however, the National Security reaction was heavy-handed.
In a swift reaction, President Akufo-Addo directed his Scribe, Nana Bediatuo Asante to “reach out to the affected journalists to ascertain their well-being,” as contained in a statement from the Communications Directorate at the Presidency.
The foregone directive notwithstanding, the President also directed the National Security Ministry “to investigate the incident and report to him within 72 hours.”
The President’s action was to as contained in the statement “seek to ensure that the security officials and the journalists conducted themselves in a manner consistent with our laws.”
The National Security operatives claimed at the time that the journalist was engaged in a surreptitious filming of a restricted zone and transmitting footage thereof to his colleague, Ms. Zoe Abu-Baidoo, who was also brought in later for questioning by armed operatives to the station located at Adabraka, Accra.
Ms. Baidoo was released shortly after questioning.
The Ministry of National Security in a statement authored by the Chief Director, Lt. Col. Ababio Serebour (Rtd) explained the circumstances surrounding the action thus.
On May 11, 2021, Mr. Kudah was seen filming within the precincts of a National Security installation in breach of the ‘No photography’ rules at such security zones, having gained entry using false pretence.
Continuing, the statement pointed out that the journalist surreptitiously forwarded the footage to Ms. Zoe Abu- Baidoo.
The National Security action followed the refusal of the duo to report at the National Security office to assist in investigation into their action, according to the statement.
The Ministry of National Security, the statement added “strives, at all times, to uphold the ethics and professional standards guiding operational duties. This includes, but not limited to, interrogation processes for persons who are required to assist in investigations.”
Following their respective release, Citi TV held a programme for its journalists where Kudah claimed that he had to conceal his ethnicity because if the operatives got to know he was from the Ewe ethnic grouping, they were going to intensify his beating.
He claimed he was slapped from behind and kicked in the groin as well.
By A.R. Gomda