Journalist, others nabbed for extortion attempt

The police have arrested a journalist and three others, who allegedly attempted to extort GH¢300,000 from the management of the Peace and Love Hospital at Oduom, in Kumasi.

They are Timothy Antwi-Otoo, a journalist with Atinka FM, Prince Kwarteng, a musician at Tabora, Accra, Mike Osie Bobie Kese, records officer and videographer at the hospital, and Awuni Azure, also known as Kwame Isaac, a musician at Agona Bobikuma.

Marcus Kofi Otabil, also a journalist with Rainbow FM, is on the run and the police are looking for him.

Briefing newsmen, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ampofo Duku, indicated that the suspects conspired to blackmail the hospital.

He said in 2014, Bobie Kese informed the other suspects that the hospital’s branch in Accra was not accredited to the National Health Insurance Scheme, but operated fraudulently under the scheme.

Consequently, the police said, all the suspects agreed to defraud the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, Dr. (Mrs) Beatrice Wiafe Addai.

According to the police, the suspects conspired that Bobie Kese should steal some of the patients’ private and confidential folders from the hospital, and use same as basis to demand GH¢300,000 from her.

Bobie Kese managed to steal 27 folders and handed them to Kwarteng who in turn handed them over to Otabil.

Otabil called the CEO on phone, threatening to leak out the information by publishing the alleged damaging information that the hospital was operating fraudulently under the NHIS.

The police said Otabil gave Otoo’s bank account at the Universal Merchant Bnak, Adabraka branch, to the CEO to deposit GH¢300,000 into it.

After several demands, the suspects opted for cash settlement and agreed to meet her at Assin Manso in the Central Region, in exchange for the stolen folders.

A report was made to the Zongo Police who detailed some men to accompany the complainant to Assin Manso, where Bobie Kese and Azure were met at the outskirts.

The complainant was said to have handed over a bag containing the said money to the suspects, and the police rushed in to arrest them, and the 27 patients’ folders retrieved from them.

The others were later arrested, but Otabil managed to escape.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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