Assault On Journalist...BNI Official Slapped – Gbevlo Lartey

The National Security Coordinator, Col (rtd) Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, has dismissed reports that some journalists were assaulted by officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) at the premises of an Accra Human Rights Court during the case of DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, the police officer alleged to be involved in the mysterious cocaine-turned-baking soda saga. Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, Col. Lartey stated that a BNI official was rather slapped by a man in the company of the photojournalist who was arrested and later released. But that assertion has been condemned by Mrs. Gina Blay, the publisher of Western Publications – owners of the newspaper. She said the security capo is “not telling the truth” and it is a pity that “he is endorsing this kind of behavior from his personnel. ” Ms Gifty Lawson, a photojournalist with the Daily Guide newspaper was allegedly attacked on the court premises when she attempted taking photographs of the head of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Police CID, DSP Tehoda, who has been in BNI grips for two weeks following the alleged role she played in the cocaine swap. Col. Lartey dismissed the report saying that the security operatives were rather prevented from performing their duties. “What happened yesterday was that someone assaulted a BNI officer and that person has been arrested and we would process that person for court,” Col. Lartey stated. He added that “the person is someone who was accompanying a photo journalist from Daily Guide and that person slapped a BNI officer in the performance of his duty. So that person has been arrested and we would put that person before court. ” The national security coordinator maintained that no journalist was manhandled despite eyewitnesses’ accounts to that effect. He added that the female journalist resisted arrest after she was asked to accompany the person who slapped the BNI officer. Col. Lartey challenged all eyewitnesses to the alleged manhandling of the photojournalist to testify in court during the trial. He has also welcomed a move by the Daily Guide newspaper to sue the BNI, saying “it is their right at law. ” Ms Lawson has since been released from the BNI custody. Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association has condemned the alleged attack on the female photojournalist. According to the GJA, the behavior of the BNI officials was an affront on journalism and has since called on the Inspector General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye, to “order an immediate investigation into the matter. ”