For an alleged fake publication that induced panic bank withdrawals from dollar account holders, the Accra Circuit Court has granted GH20,000 bail with two sureties each for a blogger and an IT specialist.
The release, according to the BoG, aroused public anxiety and worry and led to panic withdrawals from banks, prompting the police to arrest the suspects and launch an investigation.
The blogger, Jeffrey Eppirim Nyame, has been charged with dissemination of false information, and his accused co-conspirator, Jeremiah Kobina Egyebeng, an IT professional, has been charged with aiding and abetting. They have both pleaded not-guilty.
The prosecution is required to submit all disclosures by December 29, and the next hearing has been scheduled on December 29 before Judge Rosemary Baah Torsu.
Chief Inspector Richard Amoah told the court that the police had collected social media data that showed that on October 27, 2022, Nyame published an article on his news portal called reportghana.net titled “Dollar account holders to get cedi at BOG rate for bank withdrawals effective 31st Oct?” and shared it on various WhatsApp groups and social media platforms, causing widespread panic.
Chief Inspector Amoah said that it was determined via the inquiry that in 2019, Egyebeng developed the news site for Nyame named reportghana.com, which was utilized for the publishing of similar items but was shut down by Google for breaking their community standard.
However, on February 11, 2022, Egyebeng registered the domain name reportghana.net, resembling a previous attempt at creating a news portal, in order to utilize it for the dissemination of stories and events related to Ghana.
He testified in court, “After publishing the said false news, Nyame then shared the publication on WhatsApp group platforms including’ reportghana news feed 1′,’reportghana news feed 2′, and’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.
According to Chief Inspector Amoah, Nyame confessed posting the allegedly bogus news, but claimed he obtained the story from mynewsgh.com. However, the investigation disproved this claim and identified Nyame as the article’s creator and publisher.
According to Chief Inspector Amoah, Egyebeng acknowledged creating the news website that Nyame ran and accessed.
He continued by saying that further digging had turned up the identities of additional people engaged in the publishing who were still at large despite the ongoing attempts to track them down.