In an uncontrolled rabid rant, Ernest Owusu Bempah, the Director of Corporate Affairs of the Ghana Gas Company Limited, is confessing the new modus operandi of government actors in gagging journalists who investigate rot in government institutions, saying he has ordered the National Security Agency to clampdown on pending investigations that will unravel allegations of serious financial infractions at the state gas company.
“I have forwarded your story to the National Security…so watch out,” the raving Owusu Bempah threatened Whatsup News in what only reaffirms the brutal clampdown of the Akufo Addo administration on free press and the “culture of silence” designed to muzzle independent-minded media organisations exposing rot in the society.
In the past eight months, the Ghana Police Service in cahoots with the National Security had illegally arrested David Tamakloe, Whatsup News Editor-in-Chief twice for publishing a news report that apparently irked some individuals at the Jubilee House.
In one instance, Mr. Tamakloe was arrested and charged for “false publication” even though the editor of Ghana’s biggest e-newspaper had yet to publish the said news report.
In the past month, Whatsup News has been investigating snowballing reports by whistleblowers about serious misappropriation of funds and rot at the Ghana Gas company.
As ethically required, Whatsup News had earlier contacted Mr. Owusu Bempah via telephone to verify the specific allegations, but he had refused to answer the probing questions and had rather suggested that Whatsup News forward an official questionnaire to him.
However, before the said questionnaire was sent out, one of the managers at Ghana Gas Emmanuel Essel, the Director of Finance of the company that Whatsup News had contacted to verify some of the allegations had mysteriously died from a freak accident in his home.
Whatsup News had therefore published the unfortunate death on Tuesday, June 16, 2021, and had described the coincidence as “mysterious”, particularly given the vital revelations that Emmanuel Essel was willing to disclose.
Indeed, before his untimely death, Emmanuel Essel had reportedly protested against the festering corruption in the company and had reportedly written to Dr. Ben K. D. Asante, the CEO of the company, serving notice that if the corruption is not dealt with he would resign.
Whatsup News had also spoken to Richard Alamu, the Union Chairman of Ghana Gas who, together with some of his superiors, have been cited in the raging allegations of shady activities at Ghana Gas.
Initially, he had been cooperative but had suddenly stonewalled the Whatsup News, saying the National Security had been detached to protect him because some unknown individuals had threatened to eliminate him if he divulged any more information.
Meanwhile, in his unhinged outburst on Wednesday, June 16, when he issued the threat against Whatsup News, Owusu Bempah had somehow implicated himself by claiming he knew the whistleblowers feeding information to Whatsup News and threatened to deal with those he suspected.
He had gone ahead to disclose that he had illegally acquired personal data of the Raphael Ofori-Adeniran, the Managing Editor of Whatsup News, from the Ghanaian Embassy in Berlin.
He cited an instance where Mr. Ofori-Adeniran had had confidential discussions with the Ghanaian Ambassador to Germany, Mrs. Gina Blay about the possibility of him getting appointed to the communications department of the Embassy.
Owusu-Bempah proceeded to hurl insults and fabricated tales about that encounter, revealing that he had illegally acquired all the Visa details of Mr. Ofori-Adeniran who currently resides in Germany.
“I have got all your visa details at the German Embassy…so let’s play.” Mr. Ofori-Adeniran is considering reporting the incident of harassment, threats and personal data breaches to the German authorities.
“Mr. Owusu-Bempah, I am surprised that a political activist/ political appointee can demand personal data of an individual at the Embassy in Berlin and be given unfettered access to them. You do know that there are strict data protection regulations that citizens and non-citizens of Germany have entrenched rights to-reference to the Bundesdatenschutzgesetzt…,” Mr. Ofori-Adeniran wrote to Mr. Owusu-Bempah.
He has since not responded, as moves are being made to notify German authorities about the incident.
Meanwhile, Whatsup News has forwarded a questionnaire to Ghana Gas for response to the serious allegations of corruption by some top staff of the company.