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General News of Monday, 8 October 2007


Bartels Backtracks

Interior Minister Kwamena Bartels is now backtracking from his earlier claim that he had tape recordings of Vida Tawiah; a female journalist whom he claims was sent by Raymond Archer, Editor-In-Chief of the Enquirer to blackmail him to the tune of $10,000.

Even though Bartels told Mr. Archer in a recorded interview that he caught the lady on tape saying that Mr. Archer had sent her to come and collect $10,000 from him, Bartels yesterday began distancing himself for his claim saying that, the allegation of Archer blackmailing him only stems from his own suspicions. Kwamena Bartels Now says because the Enquirer had given indications it was about to run a story on him, he concluded that it was probably Mr. Archer who was trying to blackmail him using Vida Tawiah, who investigations have now proven is a long time friend of the Minister.

Meanwhile, Vida Tawiah, the female journalist at the center of the controversy spoke for the first time on Radio Gold yesterday, saying that she is very distraught by Bartels? spin.

She served notice that she is already talking to her lawyers regarding her legal options as far as Bartels claim that she was a blackmail messenger is concerned when Bartels knows that it was he Bartels who had asked her to shop for journalists to attack Raymond Archer when he begins to run the story on him.

Vida Tawiah yesterday dared Mr. Bartels to play the purported tape which he initially alleged contained recordings of her demanding $10,000 on behalf of Raymond Archer to kill a story about he Bartels adding that even Bartels is a friend she was not going to be involved in lying about the issue.

According to her, the $10,000 was actually quoted but explained that it was quoted by the journalists Bartels wanted to use to "destroy Raymond Archer" when he attempts to do the story.

She earlier told The Enquirer in an interview that if Bartels indeed has any tape, it will rather contain incriminating evidence against him. ?I am calling off his bluff, let him play the tape?.

Vida Tawiah said the Interior Minister is twisting the story to suit his whims and caprices adding that she had had discussions with Bartels regarding paying some journalists including a former employee of The Enquirer to serve as attack dogs on Raymond Archer when he begins to serialise the Bartels story.

She said during a series of meeting to strategize how best to counter the story, Bartels was the one who rather expressed the need to kill the story but she advised him against it saying ?that was impossible?.

According to Vida Tawiah, even though an amount of $10,000 was quoted, it was not meant to kill the story The Enquirer was about to do on Bartels, but rather, to pay journalist friends of hers who are former employees of The Enquirer and who had expressed the desire to attack Raymond Archer with frivolous allegations so as to distract him from running the story.

Kwamena Bartels after an interview with The Enquirer last Thursday attacked The Editor-In-Chief of the Enquirer, accusing him of attempting to blackmail him using a certain Vida Tawiah.

In his office Bartels said ?You sent Vida Tawiah to come and collect $10,000. Well I recorded her. Some of you have been living on blackmail, you live on blackmail?

This claim by Bartels infuriated Archer who asked for a confrontation between him, Bartels and the said Vida Tawiah. It was there that Vida Tawiah denied even knowing Raymond let alone acting as a messenger for him.

Bartels has since refused to release the purported tape.

Read below the verbatim account of how Vida Tawiah denied Bartel?s claims in the presence of Bartels, his lawyer and Enquirer?s team of investigators at the Minister?s office, last Thursday.

Hon. Bartels: "Vida, this is Kwamena Bartels, your Raymond Archer is here. Your Raymond Archer man is here"

Vida: Raymond Archer? He is what?

At this time, Raymond Archer snatched the phone from Hon. Bartels and spoke to the "Vida Tawiah" on a speaker phone.

Raymond: "Hello Vida Tawiah, Hello madam, My name is Raymond Archer Do you know me?"

Vida: Yes, how are you

Raymond: "am fine thank you. Do you know me?

Vida: We have not met personally.

Raymond: Have I ever spoken to you

Vida: No

Raymond: Did I send you to Hon. Bartels

Vida: No, you haven't done that

Raymond: Did I send you to go and collect $10,000 for me? Did I send you to Hon. Bartels to go and collect money on my behalf.

Mr. Archer whose anger had reached its zenith then woke up and gave the phone to Hon. Bartels who said to Vida Tawiah "Didn't you come and talk to me that Raymond Archer had sent you to come and collect $10,000.

Vida: No, may be you did not hear me correctly.

"JESUS CHRIST" Bartels shouted.

Vida: I did mention Raymond Archer's name but I didn't say that he was the one that asked me to come. I told you that it was somebody, a friend of mine, who you said why do I trust him so much. And if you recall, I never said it was Raymond Archer who asked me to come.

Hon. Bartels: Suddenly you are singing a totally different new song.

Vida: Say again

Hon. Bartels: You are singing a totally new song.

Vida: Oh Please don't do this.