18th January 2019

Journalist who uncovered corruption in Ghanaian football shot dead

Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela, a journalist who worked with Anas Aremeyaw Anas to expose corruption in Ghanaian football, has been shot dead. FIFA banned former Ghana FA President and FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi for life last year, after he was filmed accepting corrupt payments as part of the two year investigation. Over 150 corrupt payments to officials and referees were recorded by Anas’s Tiger Eye Private Investigations team, which included Divela.

Anas confirmed the shooting on Twitter, posting a video (below) in which Member of Parliament Kennedy 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). He also 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.

In May last year, Agyapong supported Nyantakyi’s claims that he had been unfairly set up by Anas. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that Divela believed that people sought to harm him. ‘Since my image was published and [the] public was incited against me […] many people have attempted [to attack me]’, read an extract from a September 2018 WhatsApp message published by the CPJ in a statement. ‘Indeed, it [has] been hinted in some quarters that the very man who published [my image] said he was doing everything possible to quell [my] existence’.

In a statement (PDF below), Ghana’s police force confirmed that it is is investigating the killing. “Press freedom is enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana and any kind of violence against the press need to be totally condemned”, said Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Ghana’s Minister for Information, in a statement. It is understood, from YouTube news footage, that Agyapong has recently flown out of the country.

Nana Akufo-Addo-Addo, President of Ghana, condemned the killing of Divela, who had worked on several stories with the BBC. These included the production of video footage (below) covering Private Eye PI’s investigations into corruption in football, as well as an investigation into human body parts sold for ritualistic magic in Malawi.

“Those responsible for journalist Ahmed Divela’s killing should be swiftly brought to justice”, said Angela Quintal, Africa Programme Coordinator for the CPJ in a statement. “Ghana’s government must prove itself willing to hold accountable those who attack the press. This shooting is a grave signal that journalists cannot work safely to keep the public informed or hold power to account in Ghana.” 

Up to six journalists were killed in the line of duty in Africa last year, according to the International Press Institute’s (IPI) Death Watch. “The brutal murder of Hussein-Suale underscores the grave danger that journalists, especially those who tackle corruption and abuse of power, face in their line of work”, said Ravi R. Prasad, the IPI’s Director of Advocacy. “The government of Ghana must swiftly investigate this crime and bring the killers to justice.”

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