ACCRA, Ghana – An investigative journalist whose work exposed deep-rooted corruption in African soccer and led to the downfall of a member of the sport’s high-powered FIFA Council was shot dead by gunmen on a motorbike, police said Thursday.
Ahmed Hussein-Suale was killed Wednesday night, with reports saying he was shot twice in the chest and once in the neck as he drove in a suburb of the capital, Accra.
Hussein-Suale was part of a reporting team led by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a renowned investigative journalist in Ghana who has used undercover television documentaries to expose corruption, most recently in soccer.
Anas confirmed Hussein-Suale’s death on Facebook, saying: “Sad news, but we shall not be silenced. Rest in peace.”
The journalists’ projects have sometimes exposed prominent and powerful figures and their biggest scoop came last year 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.
Hussein-Suale was involved in that documentary, which was aired last May.
Nyantakyi resigned from all his roles as a result of the film 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.
Nyantakyi was the biggest figure to be caught by the journalists but their film also claimed to uncover corruption across Ghanaian soccer, and in soccer in other African countries, with officials, referees and coaches accused of taking bribes for certain favors, sometimes to fix matches.
As a result of the scandal, the entire Ghana Football Association was shut down by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo. The Confederation of African Football, the continent’s top body, banned or suspended nearly two dozen referees and officials as a result of Anas’ team’s work.
While the undercover reporting team’s most recent projects have centered on soccer and the sport’s murky world of bribery and corruption, they have worked in other areas.
Anas’ 2015 documentary “Ghana in the Eyes of God” claimed to show dozens of judges willing to take bribes to influence court judgments. Many of the judges were removed from office.
It wasn’t clear if Hussein-Suale worked on that project but he was a key member of the team that investigated soccer. The BBC said Hussein-Suale also worked with them on various projects, including an investigation into human body parts sold for ritual magic in Malawi.
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.
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