29.09.2006 Crime & Punishment


LISTEN SEP 29, 2006

THE trial of the five policemen accused of their involvement in the disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine from the Tema Port, took a new turn yesterday, when fresh charges were preferred against them.

They now face five counts of conspiracy, importation of narcotic drugs without licence, abetment, possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority, and doing prohibited business related to narcotic drugs.

Also charged with them is Asem Darko, popularly called Sheriff, who is alleged to have carted the 77 parcels of cocaine away

The five policemen were released on bail on Monday when prosecution replaced the charges against them with that of extortion, but the Attorney-General ordered their re-arrest on Tuesday, saying the prosecutor acted without consulting higher authority.

The prosecutor, Mr Cab-Beyou, has consequently, been replaced by Ms Getrude Aikins, also a Chief State Attorney.

A bench warrant has been issued for one of the accused, Detective Sergeant Samuel Yaw Amoah, who is said to have absconded to Togo soon after they were granted bail on Monday.

The others, Sergeant David Nyarko, Lance Corporal Dwamena Yabson, Lance Corporal Peter Bundorin, and Sergeant Isaac Asante who were in court, were remanded in police custody until October 27.

The accused were on September 25, granted ¢300 million bail with one surety reach, after the prosecutor withdrew the charge of abetment and replaced it with extortion for which all the accused pleaded not guilty.

The Attorney-General, Mr Joe Ghartey, evoked the powers vested in him under Article 88 of the constitution, countermanded the decision and ordered their re-arrest.
At the trial yesterday, the new prosecutor, Ms Aikins told the packed court that the country "is being suffocated with cocaine. We must act to save the situation."

She said the state had followed the dictates of the constitution to bring the policemen to court, adding "they may interfere with investigations if they are granted bail."

She said the prosecution would lay before the court the full facts of the case on the next adjourned date.

The court had earlier been told that on April 26, the accused persons stationed at the Tema New Town, Community One and Kpone all in the Tema Regional Command had information that Sheriff was taking delivery of parcels of cocaine at the Kpone Beach, near Tema Harbour.

They were said to have abetted with Sheriff to off load 77 parcels of cocaine, rode in Sheriff's vehicle to his residence where they took some money and allowed him to go.

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