An investigative journalist whose exposés on the deep-rooted corruption in African soccer led to the downfall of a member of the high-powered FIFA Council was shot dead Wednesday, months after a Ghana politician called for retribution against him.
Local media report that Ahmed Hussein-Saule was shot twice in the chest and once in the neck by the unidentified gunmen in the capital of Accra. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Anas Aremyaw Anas, a renowned investigative journalist in Ghana who worked closely with Hussein-Saule in their document-style exposés, confirmed the death on social media.
“Sad news, but we shall not be silenced. Rest in peace, Ahmed,” he wrote, sharing a video of parliament member Kennedy Agyapong, who called for violence against Hussein-Saule after the documentary “Number 12” was released last year. He also circulated photos of the journalist.
On Thursday, Agyapong was “invited” by police in connection to the murder investigation. Police said they would leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the murder and that Agyapong was only taken in as a person of interest, Ghana Web reported.
Hussein-Saule and Anas’ projects have sometimes exposed prominent and powerful figures and their biggest scoop came last year in “Number 12” with FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Nyantakyi was the head of Ghanaian soccer and the No. 2 official in African soccer when he was caught on TV camera by Anas' team accepting a bribe of $65,000 and smiling as he stuffed the wads of cash into a black plastic bag.
Upon the documentary’s release last May, all matches in the country were canceled and Nyantakyi resigned from all his roles and was later banned for life from the sport by the world governing body FIFA.
He was found guilty of bribery, corruption, and conflict of interest in a FIFA disciplinary case.
Some of the methods used by Anas' team have been questioned and stoked criticism, particularly the tactic of reporters using disguises and posing as others to trap possibly corrupt figures. The methods have been denounced as illegal by some, including Nyantakyi, who said he will appeal his life ban from soccer.
On Thursday, the International Press Institute condemned Hussein-Saule's murder, saying it “underscores the grave danger that journalists, especially those who tackle corruption and abuse of power, face in their line of work.”
“The government of Ghana must swiftly investigate this crime and bring the killers to justice,” IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said.
Violence against the press is rare in Ghana, with the Committee to Protect Journalists saying only one other journalist has been killed in Ghana since 1992.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.