Kennedy Agyapong, a member of Ghana’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), has left the country despite a wave of condemnation and suspicion that he allegedly knew of the murder of an undercover reporter.
Ahmed Hussein-Suale was gunned down in an Accra neighbourhood on Wednesday night. His assailants, reported to be two and riding on a motorbike, trailed him as he was driving home around 10:00 p.m. and shot him three times in Madina, a suburb of the nation’s capital.
He was an associate of prominent Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who runs the Tiger Eye Private Investigations outfit in that country.
The development has sparked widespread outrage amongst journalists and media rights advocates across the world, with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists demanding a prompt and holistic inquest from Ghanaian government.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo condemned the killing and prevailed on the police to urgently unravel the circumstances that led to it. He also condoled with Mr Hussein-Suale’s family and Tiger Eye.
Mr Agyapong, a lawmaker representing the country’s Assin Central at the parliament, became an instant suspect in the murder of the undercover reporter, whose latest work exposed corruption in Ghanaian sports industry. Mr Hussein-Suale was also said to have been a part of the undercover video that revealed Salisu Yusuf of the Nigerian Football Federation as taking bribes. Mr Yusuf was subsequently sanctioned.
A video extracted from a broadcast on Ghana’s NET2 station went viral on social media Thursday. It showed Mr Agyapong calling for the public to beat Mr Hussein-Suale for his undercover activities.
Mr Agyapong was seen departing preparing to fly out of Ghana on Thursday, apparently after being questioned by the police over the video clip, which was shared by Mr Anas on Thursday morning.
The politician strongly denied that he was leaving the country because he has been identified as a suspect, saying the trip was planned well before the murder Wednesday night. He also said he only called for Mr Hussein-Suale to be beaten after employees at NET2 reported sighting him in the station’s premises.
Mr Agyapong, 58, owns NET2 and other media outlets in Ghana. He has been in the parliament since 2001.
He said he made the threats against Mr Hussein-Suale because he believed the slain reporter, whom he reportedly helped pay school fees in 2012, could plant recording devices in offices of NET2, and he could not have plotted his killing because he has never written nor done any undercover work against him.
The politician also accused Mr Anas and his lawyer of trying to muddle police investigation by amplifying him as the prime suspect, even though he believes Mr Anas was the suspect.
He said Mr Hussein-Suale fell out with Mr Anas before his death, and the famed investigator might have ordered his hit to suppress possible secrets.
But Mr Anas strongly rejected Mr Agyapong’s comments, telling newsmen he was with Mr Hussein-Suale hours before he died.
“The politician is known to be a liar,” Mr Anas said by telephone Friday morning. “I do not think that anybody should take anything he says seriously.”
“On the day my reporter died I was sitting with him, and he left me for an assignment,” Mr Anas added.
Mr Anas said he has not specifically accused Mr Agyapong or anyone else as being responsible for the murder, and would rather let the police conduct a thorough investigation.
Mr Hussein-Suale is expected to be buried Friday in accordance with Islamic rites.