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23.08.2006 Crime & Punishment

Ampewuah, Tabiri Exposed

By TheChronicle
Ampewuah, Tabiri Exposed
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... Fresh evidence discredits their testimonies

ImageFresh evidence gathered on the intertwined cocaine scandal suggests that Police and Immigration Chiefs are still holding back vital information crucial for waging a successful battle against the drug menace. The Police and Attorney General Department's (AGD) documents sighted by The Chronicle clearly discredit the testimonies of Mr. Patrick Ampewuah, Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, and Mr. Edward Tabiri, also of the same Police Department, to the Georgina Woode Committee as far as the East Legon cocaine case is concerned.
So far, these police bosses who have testified before the fact-finding Committee on several occasions have remained firm with their position that at the time the police raided the East Legon house to impound the 588 parcels of wrapped substances suspected to be cocaine, the Venezuelan cocaine fugitive, Vasquez Duarte Gerardo David, was not in the country. However, a careful scrutiny of a police document sighted by this paper, which is signed on behalf of the Director General of CID by Chief Superintendent George Appiah and addressed to the Attorney General, suggests that at the time of the police raid of the East Legon house, the police had cause to believe that Vasquez was in Ghana.

The document states, “Further investigation established that 'Charmo' is known as Vasquez Duarte Gerardo David, Managing Director of COMPIMCHEX LTD., who through his girlfriend, Grace Asibi Asibrele, rented the house plots No.348, Mempeasem, for the suspect. He has since gone into hiding.”

Legal experts say since the police indicated in its report to the Attorney General that the man “had since gone into hiding”, it could only mean that at the time of the raid, the police were aware or had cause to believe that Vasquez was in Ghana.

Another document from the AGD to the police, signed on behalf of the Attorney General by Mr. Francis Amison Agbolosu, the then Chief State Attorney, made it explicit that Vasquez went into hiding after the police operation in the East Legon house during which the drugs were discovered.

The Chief State Attorney, in advising the police that the impounded goods belonged to Vasquez, stated, “This position is underlined by the subsequent conduct of Vasquez, by his going into hiding after the discovery of the drugs in the house”.

Mr. Agbolosu's document to the Police, also dated May this year, further stated, “Vasquez the official tenant of house no. Plot 348 of Mempeasem East Legon, who was accommodating Mejia Joel as his guest, after hearing of the discovery of the narcotic drugs in his rented premises ran into hiding.”

Though this information had been with the police, Superintendent Tabiri and Mr. Ampewuah have been consistent in their testimony before the Committee that Vasquez left the country on November 10, 2005 and thus had been out of the country when the police raided the house on November 24, 2005.

During Monday's sitting, Counsel for the CID deputy boss, Mr. Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, reiterated to the Committee, “It is on record that Vasquez had left Ghana on November 10, 2005,” and indicated that Grace Asibi could not have had the $200,000 to give to some police officers as bribe as she had always insisted in her testimony before the Committee.

Though it is not clear which document the lawyer was referring to, the position contradicts what the CID wrote to the Attorney General and what was written by the Chief State Attorney in May this year.

Meanwhile, The Chronicle has evidence of payments of substantial amounts made by Grace Asibi to some key people after the police operation in East Legon, and the subsequent arrest of the two Venezuelans who are currently facing trial. Despite the contents of the Police and AGD documents that indicate that Vasquez was still in the country at the time the police raided the house on November 24, Immigration officials at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) do not have any documents covering the return of Vasquez into the country, after his supposed departure on November 10.

A former officer in charge of operations of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) at the KIA, Mr. Fredrick Coleman, had earlier told the Georgina Woode Committee that the GIS could not capture all the entry and exit details of Vasquez and his cousin Joel Mejia Duarte Moises. Security experts have described Mr. Coleman's statement as an admission of a major security lapse on the part of the GIS and have called for the questioning of Immigration chiefs in the country for them to provide an explanation to the security lapse.

Presently, officials of GIS and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority are battling over which institution should be held responsible for the major security blunder at the KIA that allowed foreign nationals with doubtful characters to enter the country without holding records on them.

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