Journalist Granted GH¢10,000 Bail

Ebenezer Ofori Agyei, popularly known as Odi Asempa, who is facing trial at the Kade District Magistrate Court for allegedly abusing the Akwatia District Police Commander with the intent to breach peace in the area, has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢10,000.00 with one surety.

This was when he made his second appearance at the court on Tuesday.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge after the prosecution substituted the charge sheet with a new one that dropped the second charge of falsely presenting himself as a driver.

The prosecutor, Police Chief Inspector E.A. Gand, said on November 14, this year, a news item presented on Accra based FM station said some purported drivers at Akwatia were claiming on a tape that the Akwatia District Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Yaw Dankwah Agyekum is “Kaankabi” (dictator) and many others.

The drivers also alleged on the tape that played on air that the police commander had been demanding bags of cement from motor traffic offenders.

The prosecution said the accused was suspected to behind that news item and was therefore invited to assist the police in investigations.

At the station, he was sent to the District Commander’s office for interrogation in the company of two police officers and when he was asked where he trained as a journalist, he got infuriated and described the question as baseless and nonsensical.

He said tempers flared so the commander instructed that the accused be detained and cautioned.

According to the prosecution when the accused was leaving the office, he was alleged to have said “you can’t intimidate me with your useless commandership,” among others.

The prosecution said in his caution statement, the accused denied recording the tape, however a search on his phone revealed that the original recording was made on his TECHNO phone on November 12 at 10.15.

Further search on the Whatsapp notes on the same phone revealed that the accused sent the audio recording to a whatsapp group on his phone called “Breaking News Centre” on the same day at 10:45am.

He said investigations further revealed that members of that group, which included a staff of the Accra-based station and other media practitioners, also confirmed that the accused was not a taxi driver as he had presented himself in the audio tape.

On November 16, the accused was put before the Kade Magistrate Court and was remanded into police custody to assist in police investigations.

The prosecution said whilst in custody, the radio station confirmed that the accused sent the story to them.

After the prosecution had presented the facts of the case, an Agona Swedru based lawyer, S.H. Owusu, pleaded with the court to grant him bail.

The magistrate, Felicia Anane-Antwi, told counsel that she would have granted the accused bail even without his intervention, explaining that the accused was remanded into police custody to assist them in their investigation and now that the police had completed their investigation, he could be bailed.

She, therefore, granted him bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 with one surety to reappear on December 17.