Opinion: Only a Court Can Order the Release of NSC Tapes by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

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Franklin Cudjoe, CEO of IMANI-Africa

The call by Mr. Franklin Cudjoe – Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer – of the IMANI-Africa think-tank, for the immediate release of audiovisual tape recordings of Messrs. Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri, Deputy Editor, and Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum, Reporter, of the Modern Ghana online media portal, by the operatives of the National Security Council (NSC) who allegedly picked up the pair on Thursday, June 27, 2019 for questioning, is rather premature, in view of the fact that even as of this writing, the pair had reportedly hired attorneys to represent them on their case in court.

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We need to also quickly and significantly point out that scarcely 24 hours after Messrs. Abugri and Britwum were released from the custody of the operatives of the NSC, following their separate interrogations, Mr. Britwum, who has decided to solicit the services of a different group of attorneys, pointedly contradicted Joy-News’ News File program host and legal practitioner, Mr. Samson Lardy Anyenini, by releasing a public statement through his attorneys denying that either he or his colleague, that is, Mr. Abugri, had been tortured or manhandled during both the process of their arrests and interrogation at the headquarters of the NSC. This statement is also in sharp contrast to an earlier report filed by Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni, the self-proclaimed front-row investigative journalist and Senior Correspondent with the Multimedia Group, operators of the Joy-News’ radio and television network.

So, both the legal and judicial proceedings of this case are apt to be fraught with minefields, to say the least. For starters, on the primary level of both alleged criminal suspects, it has become a classic case of Mr. Abugri’s word against the word of Mr. Britwum. Which, in effect, means that the relative credibility of these two criminal suspects would have to be categorically and/or forensically established ab initio or beforehand. That will be where the NSC audio and videotapes vis-à-vis the interrogations of Messrs. Abugri and Britwum come into play or the judicial equation, that is, if there exists any such compelling forensic evidence.

There is, of course, every good reason to believe, as observed by Mr. Cudjoe, that the interrogations of Messrs. Abugri and Britwum at the NSC’s headquarters had been duly and digitally recorded, being that the entire process was geared towards the possible indictment and prosecution of these two Modern Ghana journos who presently stand accused of hacking the information storage and retrieval systems of their media rivals and competitors, in a bid to scooping the latter or unethically and, perhaps, illegally as well, getting a leg up on these competitors and rivals, an established and quite common professional practice even right here in the United States.

 I am on the latter count, of course, referring to the well-established media practice of “scooping” and not the patent illegality of cyber-hacking without any legal authorization, which is what Messrs. Abugri and Britwum stand accused of, as of this writing. We are also likely to learn the fact of whether the original attorney for the two men, namely, Joy-News’ Mr. Anyenini, belongs to that notorious category of widely disdained attorneys called “Ambulance Chasers” right here in the United States, who might have shamelessly gone out of their way to quickly and personally solicit the business of Messrs. Abugri and Britwum, rather than having the latter seek him out.

If there appears to be any element of the possibility of Mr. Anyenini’s having chosen the ungodly path of an “Ambulance-Chasing” lawyer, then, of course, the logical question would arise regarding the fact of whether the two Modern Ghana media operatives may have been coached or deliberately misled into criminally concocting the story about their having been either manhandled or, in the words of Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni, “seriously tortured” by personnel and agents of the National Security Council.

That both Messrs. Awuni and Anyenini are employees in very influential positions with the Multimedia establishment may not be either purely coincidental or absolutely insignificant, especially if the critically-thinking observer also factors into the equation the fact that these two media operatives are vanguard promoters of the “Torture Narrative” vis-à-vis the purported NSC’s manhandling or mistreatment of Messrs. Abugri and Britwum. There, as well, may be an ethno-regional and partisan edge to this entire saga, the exploration of which we would rather not probe at this time or for the nonce.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs