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Viral ‘maize thief’ incident happened in Tanzania in 2018 not Ghana

3 mins read

Claim: A man reported himself to the police in Binduri, Upper East region after a bag of maize he stole refused to come off his head, social media users claim. 

No such incident occurred in Binduri in Ghana. The incident dates back to 2018 and occurred in Tanzania.

Full Text

Viral photos circulating on various social media platforms in Ghana supposedly shows a thief reporting himself to police in Binduri in the Upper East Region after a bag of maize he stole refused to come off his head. 

The photos have been circulating for several days and have been seen many times on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.

“A thief at Binduri in the Upper East Region has handed himself over to the police after a bag of maize he stole refused to come down from his head… Ay3ka Face,” most of the captions read. 

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Verification

A Google Reverse Image search produced results of the same photos published on some websites years ago. 

Website such as The Breaking Times in Nigeria, Matooke Republic in Uganda and Adomonline in Ghana all published the photos as far back as May 2018 with the same narrative that a thief had surrendered to the police after the bag of maize he stole failed to come off his head, except that, these reports pointed to Tanzania as the country the incident occurred in. 

We found a YouTube video of the incident online capturing the same man in the viral photos. In the video, one of the standersby was heard speaking in Swahili, an official language of Tanzania. 

Taking clues from one of the viral photos, we confirmed the name of a police officer and his phone number to have the codes of Tanzania and not Ghana.  

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In a 2019 official Tanzanian court document, we found J.J Kahamba named as a police officer of the Tanzania Police Force. 

Per the document, he was the police chief of the Mlandizi community in the Kibaha district of the Pwani Region in Tanzania.

The accompanying mobile phone number in the viral photo also points to a Vodacom network user in Tanzania. 

Caller identification app, Truecaller also confirmed the telephone number listed on the board as the one to the office of Mr. Kahamba of the Officer Commanding Station at Mlandizi.  

Dubawa also contacted the Upper East Regional Police Command to ascertain whether such a thing had happened. Public Relations Office of the Upper East Region Police, ASP David Fianko-Okyere, denied the reports. He said that no police station in the Region had arrested a suspected thief with a bag of maize refusing to come down from the head. 

Further, Graphic Online says its checks with the Public Affairs Officer of the Upper East Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) David  Fianko-Okyere and The Binduri District Chief Executive, Mr Ayinga Abagre Yakubu have confirmed that no such incident has occurred in the district. 

Conclusion

The viral social media photos that supposedly shows a thief reporting himself to a police station in Biduri in the Upper East region of Ghana after a bag of maize he stole refused to come off his head is false. 

The incident did not occur in Ghana but Tanzania. Again, it is not recent, it dates back to 2018. 

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