President John Mahama has defended the decision of the Bureau of National Investigations ( BNI) to invite Citi FM’s Chief Executive Officer and Editor of the Daily Graphic for questioning regarding stories they published which indicated that a Ghanaian woman, Nayeli Ametefeh, who was busted for cocaine in the UK, held a diplomatic passport.
The BNI was widely condemned for questioning Citi FM CEO, Samuel Attah Mensah, after citifimonline.com reported that suspect not only held a diplomatic passport, but was also connected to the first family.
President John Mahama has, however, jumped to the aid of the BNI, noting that the institution was merely doing it work.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of Radio Eye – Ghana first private radio station – at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Mahama said the BNI merely invited the aforementioned editors to assist in investigations as to where information regarding the diplomatic passport were coming from.
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The President said: “Once it has been reported that this woman who is not a diplomat is in possession of a diplomatic passport, the Bureau of National Investigations had to perform its duties.
“As irony will have it, the primary function of that institution is the pursuit of information for the security and safeguard of our nation and its citizens.
“In the investigations, the BNI narrowed down the stories to the original source of dissemination in Ghana to the Radio station and the Newspaper,” the President stated at an event IN Accra to mark 20 years of media plurality in Ghana.
President Mahama stressed that, “Both editors were asked (not ordered), to come to the BNI and assist with investigations. They were not arrested or detained and they both have publicly said so”.
“In truth BNI has worked to help, not hamper the media to provide the public with accurate and verifiable information about a news worthy item,” he added.
Readers will recall that after meeting the BNI on Monday, Samuel Attah Mensah told the media that he was questioned for only about three minutes, after which he discussed social issues with his interrogators.
“I gave them [BNI] an account of what happened and it took three minutes, and then we used another 45 minutes to one hour talking about everything from football, to alcohol to religion and everything,” he said.