The Ghanaian police have warned religious leaders and citizens to avoid sharing “false or misleading” prophecies as the year comes to an end.
In a statement by Alexander Obeng, its director of public relations, the service said prophecies of harm, danger and death by some religious leaders have created panic and put the lives of many Ghanaians in danger.
The police said it is a crime to knowingly send a communication that is misleading and likely to endanger lives, adding that anyone found culpable risks up to nine years jail.
“We want to caution that under Ghanaian law, it is a crime for a person to publish or reproduce a statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace, where that person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour or report is true,” the police said.
“It is also a crime for a person, by means of electronic communications service, to knowingly send a communication that is false or misleading and likely to prejudice the efficiency of life-saving service or to endanger the safety of any person.
“A person found guilty under these laws could be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to nine years.
“We therefore wish to caution all Ghanaians, especially religious groups and leaders to be measured in their utterances, especially how they communicate prophecies, which may injure the right of others and the public interest”.
The Ghanaian police service added that it respects the right to freedom of religion and is not against prophecies.
“The Ghana Police Service wishes to place on record that the Police are not against prophecies; we acknowledge that we Ghanaians are a religious people who know, and believe in, the centrality of God in our lives,” it said.
“The Police wish to assure all religious organizations that we are committed to ensuring maximum security during the 31st December night, end of year services and beyond. There should be no apprehensions therefore about undertaking the various activities. We ask only that everyone keeps within the law and is mindful of the welfare of each other.”