Two staff of the National Health Insurance Scheme at Ablekuma, who allegedly brutalized Adom FM’s Editor Afia Pokua and reporters Shardrack Kofi Assan and Samuel Sefa were hauled before an Accra Magistrate’s court Monday.
The two, Israel Quarme Ayer - Scheme Manager and Richjoyce Naa Deede Armah – PRO, who have been charged with assault and offensive conduct condusive to the breach of peace, however, pleaded not guilty. A third suspect, who also faces similar charges, is said to be on the run.
Meanwhile, the two were granted bail in the sum of GH₵8000 with two sureties. They are to reappear in court on October 15, 2014.
Adom FM’s Editor, Afia Pokua and the two reporters, Shardrack Kofi Assan and Nana Sefa were supposedly assaulted by the National Health Insurance Scheme Manager, Israel Quarme Ayer and other officials at the Ablekuma District in Accra last Thursday.
Samuel Sefa, a reporter with Adom FM, a Multimedia Group unit, had gone there to report on the frustrations and complaints of persons who had queued since 3 am Thursday, to go through biometric registration, but had his mobile phone confiscated by Mr. Ayer.
Sefa managed to get his Editor, Afia to intervene in the matter. But things took a different turn when she (Afia Pokua) got there in the company of another reporter, Kofi Assan.
According to Assan, the Scheme Manager released Samuel Sefa after he and Afia had intervened.
The journalists walked out of the Manager’s office to a hostile crowd, which accused the young reporter of going to hide in the Manager’s office, leaving them to their fate.
Attempts by the News Editor, Afia, to explain things to them infuriated Mr. Aryeh who pounced on her and assaulted her badly. She sustained severe bruises on her right thigh with blood oozing from the cuts.
Assan said he received severe beatings too when he tried to defend his editor. He said his clothes were torn in that scuffle.
Afia and Assan returned to the Kaneshie Police with their medical forms after receiving medical attention at the hospital.
It is for this reason that the NMC held an emergency meeting on Friday to pursue justice for the victims.
The NMC Chairman, Kabral Blay-Amihere described the incident and some others, as show of impudence and arrogance against the media in recent times.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show last Friday, he condemned the barbaric attack on the journalists and assured the NMC would ensure that justice prevails.
Moreover, as part of its investigations into the incident, the NHIA interdicted the officers involved in the attacks with the Chief Executive, Sylvester Mensah apologizing for the assault on the Adom FM staff.
Even before the probe is completed, Mr. Mensah said on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday that no staff of the authority assaulted the journalists.
He went ahead to display a picture of a faceless man whom he was unable to identify but insisted, was the one who assaulted the Adom FM’s editor.
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