Trial of blogger, others accused of causing panic dollar withdrawals begins

The Accra Cir­cuit Court has commenced the trial of a blogger, whose activities allegedly caused panic withdrawals among dollar accounts holders of their monies from various banks in the country, last year.

Jeffrey Eppirim Nyame, who is also an information technology professional, is facing charge of publication of false news and abet­ment of crime.

His two alleged accomplices, who pleaded not guilty to the charges and were on GH¢20,000 bail with two sureties each, were at large.

The court, presided over by Mr Isaac Addo, took the evidence of Police Detective Sergeant Nach Kyeremeh of the Cybercrime Unit of the Ghana Police Service, as he was cross examined by lawyer of accused, Mr Gregory Kwadwo Asiedu.

Sgt Kyeremeh admitted knowing the accused and that it was Cyber Security Patrol team that saw the article on the internet.

According to the witness, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) also made a verbal communication on the activities of the accused, which caused panic withdrawal of dollar account customers, at various banks.

Sgt Kyeremeh said the police investigated the original author of the article and asked the accused to lead them (police) to the source of their story, but they failed.

The witness denied that the police targeted the accused, leaving the original source of the story.

In the year 2022, the accused were arrested after the BoG alerted the police over the false publication.

This follows President Nana Addo Dankwa 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 prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Richard Amoah, earlier on, said the police gathered cyber intelligence on social media, indi­cating that on October 27, 2022, Nyame published an article on his news portal.

The court heard that the publi­cation was known as reportghana. net and headlined: “Dollar account holders to get cedi at BoG rate for bank withdrawals effective 31st October?”

Chief Insp Amoah said Nyame 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 report­, which was used for the publication of similar articles.

Chief Insp Amoah said it was closed down by Google for violat­ing its community standards, over complaints received from users.

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

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

Chief Insp Amoah said 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.

The case has been adjourned to October 18, 2023. — GNA

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