Hours before the ruling New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) parliamentary primaries began, a video emerged on various social media platforms alleging that Ghana’s Deputy Ambassador to China, Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie, had engaged in embezzlement of funds and visa fraud.
Ambassador Owusu Afriyie is running as a candidate in the January 27 primaries for Ablekuma North, the constituency she formerly represented in parliament. The viral video, which accused her of theft and visa fraud, therefore, poses threats to her campaign to return to parliament.
The NPP’s Akua Afriyie who is the Deputy Ambassador to China and member of parliament for Ablekuma North has been busted in China for embezzling funds and duping Chinese citizens with promises of providing them Visas and lands for mining pic.twitter.com/IhQ97ygns3
— Berry ☯︎ (@fanti_boy) January 26, 2024
In the viral video, a news anchor of an unknown foreign TV news channel is seen presenting the allegation against the Ghanaian diplomat and parliamentary aspirant as breaking news.
“The Deputy Ambassador of China and Parliamentary Aspirant of Ablekuma North Constituency, Her Excellency Akua Afriyie, has been accused of embezzling money from individuals in China and making false promises of visas and mining possessions in Ghana,” the Anchor read.
He added, “Reports have surfaced alleging that Afriyie has been soliciting funds from Chinese citizens with promises of securing visas to China and mining permits in her constituency in Ghana. It is claimed that she has been using her position as deputy ambassador to exploit unsuspecting citizens and individuals for financial gains.”
However, verification by Fact-Check Ghana reveals that the accusations against the parliamentary aspirant are not only false but the video announcing it is AI-generated, a product of deep fake.
Also interesting is the fact that the video suggested that she promised to secure Chinese citizens visas to China. Unless naturalized, a Chinese citizen does not need a visa to China.
Deep fake video from Israeli marketing platform
Checks from Fact-Check Ghana revealed that the viral video was created on Fiverr, an Israeli marketing online platform for content creation. The platform provides a variety of AI products including text-to-speech, voice-over and video editing templates for internet users to create content.
The Breaking News feature is one of the products on the Fiverr platform. With just $10, a user can feed the platform with text which will be read by an anchor and edited to seem like an actual TV news channel presenting a breaking news bulletin.
The viral video accusing Ghana’s Deputy Ambassador to China and Parliamentary Aspirant for Ablekuma North of a visa fraud scandal was produced from the Breaking News feature of the Fiverr platform.
No evidence of the embezzlement and visa exploitation allegation
Even though the allegation of embezzlement and visa exploitation against the diplomat was presented as breaking news, Fact-Check Ghana did not find any record of the report in the news media.
Typically, news of a diplomat’s engagement in such international visa scandal fraud and embezzlement would have been reported widely in the news media. However, no credible media outlet, both local and international, has reported the news about the deputy ambassador’s engagement in visa fraud. The claims are only being circulated on social media.
Also, as usual of such false claims, the accusations present no further details on exactly how Ambassador Afriyie defrauded Chinese citizens, the source of the allegation and which institution investigated and reported her engagement in the criminal act.
From the above, Fact-Check Ghana concludes that the accusation of visa fraud and embezzlement against the Ablekuma North parliamentary aspirant and deputy ambassador to China is false. Also, the ‘breaking news’ video announcing the accusation is AI-generated.