20.07.2006 Crime & Punishment

Govt adopting measures to check drug trafficking

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Accra, July 19, GNA - Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey said the Government was adopting an integrated approach in the fight against drug trafficking to ensure that the country did not become a safe haven for narcotic drug traffickers.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday on issues relating to narcotic drug trafficking, Mr Ghartey said the measures being used were developed after a thorough assessment and included improving relationships with other stakeholders, intensive capacity building and constant monitoring and evaluation.

He said the Government had taken seriously the threat of narcotics because it destroyed people, families and neighbourhoods as well as countries.

It is in this direction that steps were being taken to prosecute all outstanding cases, review pending ones and also complete ongoing cases.

Besides efforts were also being made to see if it were possible to prosecute narcotic cases during the legal vacation.

Mr Ghartey said the Government was also looking at the law on exhibits involving narcotic drugs to see if it was possible to destroy them immediately on arrest while keeping photos and videos as evidence. The current law allowed exhibits to be destroyed only after the cases have been ruled on.

Efforts are also underway under the terrorism bill to deny bail to suspects engaged in narcotic trafficking.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of the Interior, said the increasing arrest of drug traffickers was the result of extra vigilance being shown by the security agencies.

He said the Government was doing all it could to assist the security agencies to build on their intelligence gathering methods to enhance information flow.

Mr Kan-Dappah said that the report on the missing five kilograms of Cocaine had been submitted and a decision would be made within a week. Meanwhile, Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, has asked the opposition National Democratic Congress to stop assigning political motives to every move of the Government. Mr Bartels said the allegation that the national awards were given to persons sympathetic to the NPP was not true.

He said the committee, which reviewed the list did not do its work on the basis of the political party a nominee belonged to. Mr Bartels said the national awards were an avenue to encourage others to work hard and that the main criteria was attaining excellence in a chosen field as well as going beyond the call of duty.

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