A blogger and an Information Technology (IT) professional have been put before an Accra Circuit Court on charges of spreading false news.
The blogger, Jeffrey Eppirim, was charged with publication of false news while the I. T professional Jeremiah Kobina Egyebeng was charged as his accomplice.
According to a report by Graphic.com.gh, the accused persons were arrested by the police following an investigation into a report by the Bank of Ghana on a publication which, according to the central bank, had caused fear and panic among the public and resulted in panic withdrawals.
The prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Richard Amoah, told the court that the police gathered cyber intelligence that on October 27, 2022, the first accused person published an article on his news portal with the domain https://www.reportghana.net captioned, “Dollar account holders to get cedi at BOG rate for bank withdrawals effective October 31?”.
Nyame, according to the prosecution, shared his publication on various social media platforms, including WhatsApp, causing fear and panic among the general public.
Chief Insp. Amoah told the court that a police investigation established that the second accused person initially created the news portal, ‘reportghana.com’, for Nyame in the year 2019. This was used for the publication of similar articles but was closed down by Google for violating their community standard due to complaints received from users.
“However, Egyebeng again created a similar news portal but this time changed the domain from “dot com” to “dot net” and registered it as reportghana.net on February 11, 2022, to be able to use same for publication of articles and happenings in Ghana.
“After publishing the said false news, Nyame then shared the publication on WhatsApp group platforms including “reportghana news feed 1,” “reportghana news feed 2,” “reportghana news feed 3″ with over 160 active members where he was the administrator with his personal telephone numbers 0551993013 and 0574144388 registered on the platform,” the prosecutor told the court adding that the news was still circulating on social media.
Chief Insp Amoah also said that Nyame admitted to publishing the alleged false news but stated that he got the article from mynewsgh.com, but the investigation established otherwise and confirmed Nyame as the author and publisher.
Egyebeng, according to the prosecution, admitted to the creation of the news portal managed and used by Nyame.
The court presided over by Mrs Rosemary Baah Torsu admitted both suspects to a GH¢20,000 bail with two sureties each.
The court fixed the next hearing for December 29 this year, in which period the prosecution is expected to file all disclosures.
However, Chief Insp Amoah told the court that further investigations uncovered other persons involved in the publication but are currently at large, with efforts underway to arrest them.