17th October 2019

Ghana still investigating politician implicated in journalist’s murder

Ghanaian authorities are still investigating whether a politician’s call for a journalist to be physically assaulted resulted in his murder. Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela, who helped to expose the huge scale of match-fixing in African football, was assassinated on 16 January after Kennedy Agyapong, a Member of Parliament, called for him to be attacked. 

“The investigation is ongoing”, said investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas at the Play The Game conference in Colorado Springs. As can be seen in the picture that heads this article, Anas has been forced to hide his identity in order to protect himself from retaliation due to his work in exposing corruption. Divela also used similar methods, until Agyapong revealed his identity.

“The President says the killers will be brought to book”, said Anas. “The UN says that they will ensure that happens. The politician was detained by the police. We hope we will get justice.”

Anas hit back at claims from Michael Bahrs of Germany’s Bochum police that journalists working with match-fixers should engage with the police before finishing their investigations. “We look at them with one eye”, he said. “We know the connections they have to the underworld”. Ironically, Agyapong recently labelled Ghana’s police as corrupt

FIFA banned former Ghana FA President and FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi for life last year, after he was filmed by Anas, Divela, and the Tiger Eye Private Investigations team accepting corrupt payments as part of a two year investigation. Over 150 corrupt payments to officials and referees were recorded by Anas’s team, which included Divela.

At Play The Game, Anas revealed that 140 referees from 16 countries had been implemented in his investigation, yet only 54 of these have been removed from their posts. FIFA World Cup matches were amongst those involved. Earlier in the conference, delegates had heard that the volume of World Cup bets placed through the illegal betting market had peaked at $2.4 billion during Russia 2018.

In January, Anas confirmed the shooting on Twitter. He posted a video (below) in Agyapong calls for Divela to be assaulted. In footage from Anas’s exposé, Nyantakyi reportedly alleges that Agyapong was given a post as Minister for Transport as a reward for financial contributions to Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP). 

Agyapong owns NET2 TV, on which he called for Divela to be assaulted. In a 29 May appearance on Adom TV last year, Agyapong criticised Anas’s methods and dragged his finger across his throat whilst making a choking sound (from 1:38 in the video below).

‘I expect the police to bring to book, as soon as possible, the perpetrators of this heinous crime’, wrote Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on 17 January (see below). On 15 February, United Nations (UN) human rights experts called for an ‘independent, prompt and transparent investigation’ into Divela’s murder. 

‘We call on the authorities in Ghana to ensure that the perpetrators of this terrible crime are brought to justice’, read a statement. ‘We urge the Government to ensure that any investigation into Mr. Hussein-Suale’s death includes due analysis of the impact of Mr. Agyapong’s actions and any role that they may have played in the killing of Mr. Hussein-Suale’.

In September 2018, after Agyapong made the comments, Divela told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he feared for his life and that “many people” had attempted to attack him. Sammy Darko, a lawyer for Tiger Eye PI, told the CPJ that witnesses had seen the killers waiting for him. Agyapong told the Joy News TV channel (video below, or click here) that he didn’t regret making the comments, which were necessary to protect the potential targets of undercover journalists.

Darko told the CPJ that Tiger Eye PI was pushing for Agyapong to be charged for abatement. Under Chapter 4, Section 20(1) of the Ghanaian Criminal Code, a person who ‘directly or indirectly, instigates, commands, counsels, procures, solicits, or in any manner purposely aids, facilitates, encourages, or promotes, whether by his act or presence or otherwise, and every person who does any act for the purpose of aiding, facilitating, encouraging or promoting the commission of a crime by any other person, whether known or unknown, certain or uncertain, is guilty of abetting that crime, and of abetting the other person in respect of that crime’.

Yet despite his detention by the police, Agyapong has recently used similar tactics on other people. Ghanaian comedienne Afia Schwarznegger recently said that a Presidential soldier attempted to arrest her and take her to Agyapong’s house, and assaulted her producer (see Instagram post below).

View this post on Instagram

This is where Ghana is Now.. I simply dnt want to talk about my ordeal today…I was arrested for walking n to my disbelief a Flagstaff house soldier by the name Nkrumah told me they are taking me to Kennedy Agyapong's house when I questioned him on where we were going…..till now I am waiting to hear 1 offence apart from walking from a restaurant. Is Kennedy Agyapong's house a cell And who said I am scared of Kennedy Agyapong.??? He also told me point blank how much they are looking for me…my producer was also assaulted for Nothing. This is Ghana….I was harassed by grown men becos I am Afia Schwarzenegger. Wow. My producer is currently on admission so I will attend to him for Now..And leave rest to the necessary authority Thank God for the station master at VIPPU Security post at the flag staff house..God bless you

A post shared by 👑Queen Afia Schwarzenegger👑 (@queenafiaschwarzenegger) on

In a video (below, or click here), Agyapong describes Schwarznegger as an “ugly bitch”. He continues: “You are not a human being and you have no class”.

The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked the UN if it is following up on its promise to bring the perpetrators to justice. We await a response.

• Photograph in header is courtesy of Thomas Søndegaard, PlayTheGame. For originals, click here

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