Caleb Nii Boye, a journalist with Accra-based 3FM witnessed how Onua FM/TV journalist, Godsbrain Smart Yirenkyi, was picked up and detained by operatives of the National Investigations Bureau, NIB.
Caleb in a Facebook post disclosed that he was with Smart and other colleagues heading home when they were intercepted by four cars and a motorbike.
It happened that the occupants of the cars were NIB operatives who escorted Smart and his colleagues to their office around Kanda, a suburb of Accra.
In narrating the incident in a Facebook post, Caleb wrote: “This evening I experienced the NIB formerly BNI. as they stopped Captain Smart’s Car which I was in around Kanda.
“They escorted us their office opposite the Bureau of Ghana languages. Took our phones & Gagdets for some minutes and released it. But detained Captain Smart and his phones. As I type this— we ( 5 guys) have been released but Captain has been driven to an unknown location,” his post concluded.
On the contingent that arrived to pick Smart, he wrote in a separate post: “But NIB too. Captain Smart nti you brought 4 cars and 1 motorbike just to pick him up. Ghana paaa.”
Five hours after his post, Media General – Captain Smart’s employers – confirmed that the journalist had been released by the NIB on bail.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, October 20, 3news.com, a portal belonging to the Media General group confirmed his release.
Their report said after the arrest, Captain Smart “was later found at the Interrogation Unit of the Bureau.
“He was there and then interrogated in the presence of some senior officials of Media General. He was later released on bail,” the 3news report added.
Alleged reason for his arrest:
The Ministry of Information earlier this week accused the journalist of impugning the character of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The statement was on the back of a broadcast by Captain Smart on October 17, 2022, in which he accused the president of being actively involved in illegal mining also known as galamsey activities.
Describing the claims by Captain Smart as false and malicious, the ministry further accused the journalist of engaging in unethical and irresponsible journalism.
The government in the statement said it was referring the matter to the National Media Commission for review and adjudication.
Despite the statement by government in which a threat of legal action was issued, Captain Smart in a subsequent edition of his programme reiterated his allegations against the president.
According to him, the allegation was on the basis of some of the government’s actions and inactions relative to the fight against illegal mining.
“These are the reasons why Nana is a galamsey kingpin. Osafo Maafo is a Senior Advisor to the President but asked us to allow Aisha Huang to go because of $2 billion when she was arrested. Is the $2 billion more important than our lands?
“Secondly, Chairman Wontumi is doing galamsey but still at post. Meanwhile, Kwabena Agyapong, Sammy Crabbe and Paul Afoko were suspended for doing things against party. They didn’t do anything to the state but the party. But Wontumi is doing something that is against the country. Is the party more important than the country?
“Also, the Minerals Commission boss has said Wontumi had no license to enter the Tano Nimiri forest. But the only thing government was able to do was to ask some small boys to put some old equipment there for them to burn them to suggest they have taken any action. If you’re not a kingpin, sack Wontumi,” he said.
He explained further that per the Minerals Commission Act, any mineral found on any land anywhere belongs to the state. So the president’s failure to arrest those involved in the act makes him an accomplice.
“If you’re taking custody of something and we can’t find it, then you should be questioned,” he added.
Captain Smart’s fourth reason he stated is the President’s inability to stop Small Scale Mining.
“If you are not a galamsey kingpin, ban Small Scale Mining. You know Small Scale Mining is destroying the lands yet you’re not saying anything about it,” he noted