01.08.2006 Crime & Punishment

Another Revelation At Cocaine Probe

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A witness at the Justice Georgina Wood Committee yesterday alleged that some time in May this year, one Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, approached him at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi and pleaded with him to arrange a meeting between him (Tagor) and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.

Alhaji Mohammed Moro, who is a businessman based in Kumasi, said he refused the request because Tagor was unwilling to state the reason why he wanted to see the Otumfuo.

He said Tagor later followed him from the palace to his office in town where he informed him that the police had surrounded his (Tagor's) house at East Legon in Accra because of a cocaine case he was allegedly involved in.

Alhaji Moro said he told Tagor that he was lucky he had not taken him to see the Otumfuo because the Asantehene could have had him arrested, including he Alhaji Moro himself, if the issue of cocaine had been raised at Manhyia.

That, he explained, was because the Otumfuo had ever had a relative arrested over a rather petty offence so he would not have hesitated to have them arrested over a cocaine case.

Alhaji Moro said because Tagor told him that the case was based only on allegations and rumours, he decided to intercede on his behalf in his capacity as a friend of the Director-General of Police in charge of Operations, ACP Kofi Boakye.

He subsequently rang the Director-General of Operations on the matter.

He said when he rang ACP Boakye, the director-general asked him to come to Accra, since the matter was not one which could be discussed on telephone. He, therefore, made the journey to Accra, in the company of Tagor, and he was received in ACP Boakye's office.

Alhaji Moro said ACP Boakye took him and Tagor to see one of his superiors, Adu Gyimah, from where they drove to ACP Boakye's house where a meeting took place.

Alhaji Moro said those at the meeting included himself, Tagor, one Kwabena Acheampong, a friend of Tagor's, Alhaji Issah Abass, ACP Boakye, as well as ACP Boakye's bodyguard and driver.

Alhaji Moro said he began by asking Tagor to say what he knew about the missing cocaine, but when Tagor started by telling the meeting that a 'mafia' from Colombia was coming to Ghana to kill him, he (Alhaji Moro) sought permission and left the meeting before it ended.

He said before that, Alhaji Abass had confronted Tagor and wanted to physically attack him for spreading rumours about him to the effect that he (Alhaji Abass) was involved in the cocaine raid.

When asked by the chairperson of the committee whether he knew Tagor was related to the wife of the Asantehene, Alhaji Moro replied that he did not know that and that he was not prepared to be drawn into any matter concerning the Asante Royal Family.

Alhaji Moro told the committee that he appealed on Tagor's behalf "to get something to chop" but when he saw that people's lives were involved, he abandoned the mediation efforts and drove back to Kumasi.

Alhaji Moro, who had earlier refused to have his testimony recorded, said he did not want the media to use what he said there for any mischief.

The chairperson was, however, able to convince him that it would serve his cause if he was recorded to avoid misinterpretation by the media and the general public.

Earlier in the day, the Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Patrick Ampewuah, told the committee that his boss, the Director-General of the CID, Mr David Asante Apeatu, told him that an informant had struck a deal with him (Apeatu) to show the CID a house at East Legon where cocaine had been stocked and that the informant wanted to "share the drugs 50-50 with the police".

ACP Ampewuah said Mr Apeatu pointed out to him that the main objective was to locate the house where the drugs were stored.

He also denied knowing Grace Asibi as the informant before the operation was carried out to arrest the two Venezuelans who were found with the drugs.

He said he got to know Asibi when Chief Superintendent Edward Tabiri brought her to his office, when the substantive director-general had travelled out of the country, to ask for protection for Asibi, who also requested to open an office at Osu.

He said he advised Asibi against opening the office, since her life was in danger, and added that he had no other dealings with her.

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