Two men on a motorcycle shot and killed Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela, a member of the investigative journalism outlet Tiger Eye Private Investigations, on January 16, 2019, while he was driving in the Madina neighborhood of Ghana’s capital, Accra, according to media reports, a video posted on Twitter by Tiger Eye Private Investigations head Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and Sammy Darko, a lawyer for the outlet at the time, who spoke with CPJ.
Divela had told CPJ in September 2018 that people had attempted to attack him and that he feared for his life after a politician made comments about him on TV.
According to Darko, local witnesses had noticed the two killers—one heavily built and one slim—waiting for hours in Madina before they attacked. The heavier one pulled the trigger, and they both escaped on the motorcycle, Darko said.
Divela worked on several projects with Tiger Eye Private Investigations, including a June 2018 documentary, "Number 12," later rereleased by the BBC under the name “Betraying the Game,” which investigated alleged corruption in African soccer, according to a report by the BBC.
Divela was assisting government prosecutors with an investigation into alleged corruption featured in that documentary, Darko said. That investigation later resulted in the fraud trial of Kwesi Nyantakyi, a former president of the Ghana Football Association, according to reports.
In a May 30, 2018, appearance on the national television channel Net 2 TV, Kennedy Agyapong, a member of parliament from the ruling New Patriotic Party, threatened and encouraged violence against Divela for his involvement in investigative reporting on corruption in Ghanaian soccer, according to broadcast footage from Net 2 TV, which Agyapong owns.
"I’m telling you, beat him," Agyapong said while an image of Divela’s face aired on screen, according to a translation of the footage posted by Anas. "Whatever happens, I’ll pay. Because he’s bad. That Ahmed."
Previously, in a May 29 appearance on the privately owned Adom TV, Agyapong had chastised Anas and his investigative journalism, then dragged his finger across his throat while making a choking sound.
CPJ called Agyapong for comment in August 2021 and 2022, but he did not answer. In a 2019 TV interview, later republished in a report by the broadcaster Joy News, he said that he did not regret making the statements about Divela and “it was necessary for me to bring the guy’s picture out” to protect potential targets of undercover investigations.
In that video, Agyapong also accused Anas of diverting attention from himself as a suspect and called for police to pick up and question the journalist.
Darko told CPJ that Tiger Eye Private Investigations was calling for Agyapong to be charged for his actions.
“It’s possible to bring charge against him. Not for murder, but for abetment,” he said. “We have not accused him of killing [Divela], we are saying that his utterances are criminal conduct.”
Darko referenced the 1960 Ghanaian Criminal and Other Offences Act, which outlines criminal offense for “directly or indirectly [instigating]…the commission of criminal offence by any other person.”
Speaking on behalf of the minority in Ghana’s parliament, opposition parliamentarian James Agalga also called for Agyapong to be arrested for contravention of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, according to Joy Online and Darko.
In August 2021, Darko told CPJ that authorities had not brought any case against Agyapong, but Tiger Eye Private Investigations had sued him separately for defamation over his comments about the “Number 12” documentary. Odei Krow, a lawyer for Tiger Eye Private Investigations, told CPJ in January 2023 that a judgment in the case was expected on February 16, 2023.
In September 2018, after Agyapong commented about him on television, Divela told CPJ that he believed powerful figures in Ghana sought to harm him.
"Since my image was published and [the] public was incited against me […] many people have attempted [to attack me]," he told CPJ via WhatsApp. "These criminals after us are people who are […] associated with powers that be in Ghana and can do anything and get away with it."
Divela told CPJ that he was afraid assassins would be hired to kill him. He said, "Indeed, it [has] been hinted in some quarters that the very man who published [my image] said he was doing everything possible to quell [my] existence."
David Senanu Eklu, assistant commissioner of police and director-general for public affairs and communications at police headquarters in Accra, told CPJ on January 17, 2019, that detectives from the criminal investigation division were looking into the killing.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo posted on Twitter that day that he expected the police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.
Anas told CPJ that he was "deeply saddened" by Divela’s killing, but he would continue to report on corruption. "Come what may, we will never stop," he said.
Two of Divela’s mobile phones were sent to the United States for a forensic evaluation on August 11, 2020. In February 2021, U.S. authorities returned the phones’ data to Ghanaian authorities, according to news reports citing Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, which did not identify any suspects in the case.
In December 2022, Dame said he regretted “the failure of the investigative agencies of state to conclude investigations in the Ahmed Suale [Divela] murder incident” during an event commemorating Human Rights Day, according to a report by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a Ghana-based press freedom group that co-hosted the event.
“Failure to conclude investigations clearly has fuelled speculations by all as to the possible causes of the murder, with the frequent connection being drawn by members of the public to the occupation of the victim of the murder as a journalist, which may be correct or wrong,” Dame said.
When CPJ called the Ghana police in August 2021 to inquire on the status of the investigation into Divela’s killing, an officer who answered the phone and declined to give their name said the police force was unable to comment on the case. CPJ called and texted Kwesi Ofori, a police spokesperson, for comment but did not receive a response.
In late 2022, CPJ emailed the Ghana police again about the case but did not hear back.
Krow told CPJ in January 2023 that there had been no further updates on the suspects police mentioned in 2019, and no one had been held accountable.