03.08.2006 General News

Cocaine Case: C'ttee to sit in camera

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Accra, Aug. 3, GNA - The Georgina Woode Committee investigating the disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine from a ship last April, on Thursday decided to sit in camera to transcribe a tape recording of a meeting attended by some witnesses.

The Committee had decided at its sitting on Wednesday to meet at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) on Thursday with some key witnesses that appeared before it to transcribe the tape. But the Police arrested four witnesses immediately proceedings came to an end on Wednesday at the Ministry of the Interior, where the Committee sits.

The four who were marched into a waiting Police vehicle were Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor; Alhaji Issah Abass; Kwabena Acheampong and Kwadzo Ababio.

The four were part of the team that met in Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye's house last May to discuss the loss of 77 parcels of cocaine from the ship, MV Benjamin.

Counsel for the witnesses told the Committee that they could not sit in during the transcription of the tape when they still did not know the whereabouts of their clients.

Some of the counsel said they had not been able to locate their clients after their arrest.

Counsel for Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye, who was present when the Committee wanted to begin transcribing, argued that there was the need for the Committee to get a professional, who would do the transcription for verification by those involved all at the next sitting.

Mr Joe Aboagye Debrah, Counsel for ACP Boakye, argued that there were more than four voices on the tape and it would be difficult to identify, who was speaking at a particular time, hence the need for professionals.

Based on this argument, the Committee decided to attempt to transcribe the tape on its own.

The five-member Committee set up last month by the Minister of the Interior is to investigate the suspected loss of parcels of narcotic drugs from the ship and allegations levelled against some Police Officers with respect to the seizure of narcotic drugs at East Legon in Accra.

The Narcotics Control Board (NCB), acting upon intelligence information that a ship on the high seas was suspected to be carrying narcotics drugs, intercepted the vessel on April 27, 2006 with the assistance of the Ghana Navy.

Officials of the NCB conducted a search on the vessel and discovered a leather bag containing 30 slabs of a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine. This was seized and taken to the headquarters for safekeeping.

"However, intelligence information indicated that originally, there were about 78 parcels in the vessel with each parcel containing 30 kilograms of cocaine.

This suggests that 77 parcels of cocaine each weighing 30 kilograms were taken out of the vessel just before it was intercepted, the Ministry said.

The Committee is to, among other things, find out the person or persons, who brought the parcels on board the vessel and determine the actual numbers of narcotic drug parcels on the vessel immediately before it was intercepted.

It would determine whether some of the parcels on board the vessel were removed from it before it was intercepted, and, if so, to establish when and how this happened and recommend appropriate punishment. The Committee is also to determine the whereabouts of the parcels of narcotic drugs, if any, which were removed from the vessel and investigate any other issues relating to the loss of the narcotic drug and make recommendations on how to avoid them in future.

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