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Attorney General responds to Multimedia’s request for information on missing Ghanaian fisheries observer

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The Attorney General’s office has responded to Multimedia’s request for information on the missing the Ghanaian fisheries observer.

JoyNews sent a Right To Information (RTI) request to the Attorney-General seeking information on the status of investigations of Emmanuel Essien, a fisheries observer, who went missing.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in the response indicated that his office forwarded its advice to the Police together with the docket, and has therefore completed its work in respect of the said case since November, 2021.

He further explained that his Office is not responsible for investigation of cases and that the Office works with dockets built by investigating bodies which contain outcome of investigations and information submitted to the Law Office.

In this particular case, he explained that information on initial and further investigation was received by his office, and based on the information on record, their first and final advice were prepared and dispatched.

He said they are not in a position to give information regarding the investigation, and that Multimedia may seek further information from the Ghana Police Service.

He, however, provided some information: “Further investigation did not disclose information leading to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Observer. Although some of the suspects had seen him on the day before his disappearance, none of them could tell what happened to him. There is information that he was seen between 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm that night, however, there is no information about him beyond that at this point.”

On June 24, 2019, Emmanuel Essien, 28, was on board the Chinese trawler, Jin Hao 608, when he captured video of the crew engaging in Saiko, the illegal transfer of fish from a trawler to a large canoe.

Two weeks later, on July 5, 2019, Mr. Essien went missing while working on the Meng Xin 15 vessel.

Before getting aboard the Meng Xin 15 vessel, he wrote a statement to the police to investigate the crew on the JinHao 608 vessel for engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices.

Essien’s family, including a young daughter and son, are struggling to make sense of his disappearance.

The family has on numerous occasions been calling on the government to help them find their relative.

After three years, the Marine Police Division of the Ghana Police Service has no information on Essien’s whereabouts or what led to his disappearance.

Initial police reports said there were no signs of a crime. Essien’s evidence could have meant a $1 million fine for the vessel’s captain.

At a media encounter on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, indicated that the police have finally concluded the probe into the matter and some new suspects have emerged.

“I wrote a letter under my signature to the IGP, and they have responded. The Tema police have completed their investigations, and they have sent a duplicate case docket to the Attorney-General for study and advice. The AG upon study directed that they need to do further interrogation of three persons; Isaac Cudjoe, Dziwornu Ahabile and Antony Asiedu.

“They have done the further interrogation and have submitted this update to the Attorney-General and in about three weeks, the Attorney-General will come out with its final advice on this docket,” he said.

Pursuant to the Right to Information Act (2019) Act 989, JoyNews is requesting access to information on the status of the case; the extent of the investigation and the outcome of the investigations.

JoyNews intends to send a Right To Information request to the Ghana Police Service to seek answers to help unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Emmanuel Essien.

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