Lead suspect in the CNN investigative report over alleged attempts by Russia to meddle in the November 2020 election in the United States, Seth Boampong Wiredu, Alias Amara, has been charged by the State with the offence of Money Laundering contrary to section 1(1) (a)(b) and section 3 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act749).
International broadcaster CNN on March 13, 2020 aired an exclusive piece of an investigation that discovered how Russia is trying to meddle in the upcoming presidential and congressional polls of the US using trolls manned by people in Ghana and Nigeria.
According to the CNN investigation, the operations headquarters of the Ghanaian troll were in a walled compound in a quiet residential district near the Ghanaian capital, Accra. It had been rented by a small non-profit group that called itself Eliminating Barriers for the Liberation of Africa (EBLA).
This building was used as the headquarters for Ghanaians posing as Americans and posting on social media. Sixteen Ghanaians, mostly in their 20s, worked at the compound; some lived rent-free in a nearby apartment.
They were issued mobile phones, not laptops, and worked around a table. The EBLA trolls communicated as a group through the encrypted Telegram app, which is rarely used in Ghana. The man running EBLA calls himself Mr. Amara and claims to be South African. In reality, he was a Ghanaian who lives in Russia and his name is Seth Wiredu. Several of EBLA’s workers said they had heard Wiredu speak Russian.
According to the brief facts attached to the charge sheet as presented in Court, the complaint in the case is an operative of National Security while the accused person is an Architect by profession.
“The accused person the brief facts say owns a Non-Governmental Organization in Ghana named “Eliminating Barriers for the Liberation of Africa” which he claims is into online activism for black people worldwide”.
“During the month of December 2019, intelligence gathered indicated that the accused who stays in Novgard, Russia, has been engaging in online cyber scam and has been transferring into Ghana various sums gained from unlawful cybercrime activities”. The facts further stated that “on 13/02/2020, the accused was arrested. Investigation and Forensic examination on the accused person’s mobile phones indicated that within a short spate of time, the accused had transferred into Ghana various sum amounting to GHC 82,443.48 and the origin of the said amount was concealed. When questioned as to the source of the monies, the accused was unable to give any tangible response”.
Today in Court
The accused person Seth Boampong Wiredu, Alias Amara, pleaded not guilty after his charge was read to him. His lawyer secured bail for him and the next Court sitting has been adjourned to the 14th of April 2020. He was ordered to submit his passport to the registrar of the Circuit Court and to present himself to the Police twice a week till the case has been adjudicated.