Two in court over panic withdrawal of dollars from bank accounts

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Dollars

A blogger and an information technology professional whose activities allegedly caused panic among dollar accounts holders to withdraw their savings have appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.

Jeffrey Eppirim Nyame, the blogger is facing a charge of publication of false news.

Jeremiah Kobina Egyebeng, the IT professional, has been charged with abetment of crime. His alleged accomplices are at large.

The two have, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court, presided over by Mrs Rosemary Baah Tosu, has, consequently, admitted each person to bail in the sum of GHS20,000 with two sureties.

They were picked up after the Bank of Ghana alerted the Police over the said false publication.

This follows President Akufo Addo’s caution in a national address that those who churn out false publication against the economy would be dealt with by the security agencies.

The court has adjourned the matter to December 29 with a directive to the prosecution to be ready to file their disclosures.

The Prosecution, led Chief Inspector Richard Amoah, said the Police gathered cyber intelligence on social media, which indicated that on October 27, 2022, Nyame published an article on his news portal known as reportghana.net and headlined it: “Dollar account holders to get cedi at BOG rate for bank withdrawals effective 31st Oct?”

He reportedly shared the content on various WhatsApp groups and social media platforms causing fear and panic among dollar account holders.

The prosecutor said during investigation, it was established that Egyebeng in 2019 created a news portal for Nyame, called reportghana.com, which was used for the publication of similar articles.

But it was closed down by Google for violating their community standards over complaints received from users.

Egyebeng then created a similar news portal but with the the domain changed from “dot com” to “dot net” and registered it as reportghana.net on February 11, 2022.

It was to enable him to use it for the publication of articles and happenings in Ghana.

The Prosecution said thus after publishing the false news about the Central Bank, Nyame shared the publication on WhatsApp group platforms, including “reportghana news feed 1,” “reportghana news feed 2,” “reportghana news feed 3” with more than 160 active members.

He is the administrator, having his personal telephone numbers: 0551993013 and 0574144388 registered on the platform.

The Prosecution said the news was still circulating on social media and other platforms.

It said during investigations Nyame admitted to publishing the false news but stated that he got the article from mynewsgh.com.

However, investigation established otherwise and confirmed Nyame as the author and publisher.

Egyebeng also admitted to the creation of the news portal managed and used by Nyame.

The investigation also uncovered the involvement of other persons in the publication who were currently at large.

Efforts were underway to nab them, the Prosecution said.

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