GNA correspondent threatened for exposing syndicate
There are concerns about the safety of a Ghana News Agency (GNA) Correspondent stationed at Zebilla in the Bawku West District, following an investigative piece he did on the illegal sale of an anti-snakebite vaccine on the open market.
As a result of the expose, two chemical shop operators in Zebilla town have been arrested by the police and processed for court on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 after the police had thoroughly interrogated them over the issue and found out that the two suspects have questions to answer.
Since the exposure of the transactions and the subsequent arrest of the chemical shop owners, the Correspondent in question, Mr Godfred Polkuu, has been receiving telephone calls some of which amount to veiled threats against his personal security.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) James Ankan, the District Police Commander who spoke to the GNA, said in view of the serious nature of the issue the Police had extended their investigations to other towns beyond the District capital where there were private chemical shops.
ASP Ankan said any culprits found to be in illegal possession, or involved in the illegal sale of Snake Antiserum vaccine would be prosecuted.
He confirmed that the police had received an official complaint from Mr Polkuu stating that certain individuals who had been affected by the story had called and used some unpalatable words on him on phone.
The District Commander gave the assurance that the police would do everything within their capability to protect the GNA Reporter from harm.
Mr Polkuu who also works as a nurse at the Zebilla Hospital, has currently gone into hiding for fear of his life. He told the GNA that he had written to the Ghana Health Service, his employers, asking to be transferred out of the Zebilla District.
On May 5, 2016, the GNA published a story which revealed that some workers at the Zebilla Hospital pilfered the scarce snake Antiserum vaccine from the facility and supplied to private chemical shop owners in town who sold it at GH¢300.00 to poor snakebite victims.
Following some compelling evidence provided by Mr Polkuu, Police investigations led to the arrest of one Madam Mercy Apambe, an over-the-counter medicine seller who is also a health aide at the Zebilla District Hospital, and another dealer at Awulugu Pharmacy, a private chemical retail shop in Zebilla town.
In their caution statements to the Police, the two suspects said they had purchased the vaccine from Tamale in the Northern Region. They have been booked to appear in court at Zebilla on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.