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Government Rescues Baba Jamal   
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Government is battling hard to save the image of Deputy Information Minister Mohammed Baba Jamal who has been linked to an audio recording on which the voice of someone who sounds like him is heard asking journalists to help the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to win the 2012 general elections by all means.

It has launched an intensive face-saving campaign to clear Jamal of any wrong-doing.

The campaign began in earnest yesterday at a press conference held at the Ministry of Information, with Baba Jamal himself in attendance.

Addressing anxious journalists was Jamal’s colleague deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who sought to ridicule the story, insisting that the voice on the tape was computer-manipulated.

“Government wishes to emphasize that no government official including Baba Jamal has convened any secret meeting with any group of journalists anywhere in this country,” Ablakwa said.

He noted that “On Baba Jamal’s recent national tour of the regions, he held press conferences in all the ten regional capitals and openly engaged journalists” and that “at no time did he have any secret meeting with any group of journalists anywhere”.

Baba Jamal was alleged to have told journalists that they should paint the government white without any stain in order to retain the NDC in power in next year’s polls. The deputy Information Minister had equally told Information Services Department staff that when government bought a sheep, they should say it was a cow, for the government to look good.

However, what Ablakwa could not tell journalists was whether a mobile phone could be programmed in a way to change one’s voice to look like another person’s since he sought to demonstrate how a person’s voice could be manipulated with a mobile phone in a bid to justify his claim that Baba Jamal’s voice could have been possibly manipulated with a mobile phone.

In spite of accusing the Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Member of Parliament for Okaikoi-South, Nana Akomea and the NPP of having drawn their own conclusion on the issue, when its veracity or otherwise had not been ascertained, Ablakwa equally pronounced judgment on the matter: “The voice on that mystery tape is not that of Baba Jamal and this fact would not change, no matter how hard Nana Akomea and the NPP try.”

He accused the NPP of desperately doing everything for political power, wondering why Nana Akomea was supposedly shifting the goal posts and asking the media to get a voice expert to ascertain the truth.

Ablakwa asked rhetorically, “what kind of responsible politicking is this? Are these the standards we want in our politics? What stopped Nana Akomea from engaging a voice expert and ascertaining the truth before going public to malign government and destroy the reputations of these young budding journalists while bringing them to odium and public ridicule?”

Regarding the alleged bank accounts of the said journalists, he explained that “preliminary investigations we have conducted reveal that no such accounts exist” and “checks we have conducted at the Nara Rural Bank indicate that no such accounts exist. They have also indicated that it could not be possible for them to assign the same account number to more than one person.”

“The NYEP, through their leadership, have stated in absolute terms that there has never been any such scheme where journalists are bribed to make them report favourable stories for the government” and that they also “do not have these names in their database and that the only name they have from the NPP’s 15-member list is that of Abdulai Issaka who applied to be engaged on the scheme and attached to Metro TV.”

He explained that the state, through GBC, was a co-owner and had shares in Metro TV, insisting, “This development is very normal just as under the NPP, NYEP personnel were engaged at GBC for which we saw absolutely nothing wrong with.”

That, according to him, explained Abdulai Issaka’s NYEP internship letter.

“We see another act that cannot be described as impressive and responsible politicking on the part of the NPP when they claim all 15 including journalists working for fully owned private media houses are on a phantom NYEP scheme,” he stated.

However, some of the journalists had confirmed that they were issued with appointment letters but turned them down because they found it very unethical.

Whilst government claims to support investigation into the issue, it has asked stakeholders not to lose sight of the fact that there are criminal dimensions to this matter which have to do with what he described as ‘concocted’ voice recording and forged bank accounts.

The Information Ministry was said to have referred the matter to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) whilst the National Security Council Secretariat has also written to Baba Jamal for his comments on the matter.

Baba Jamal was also said to have petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) through his lawyers, asking him to institute criminal investigations into the matter.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu

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