Jones Koligu Ataki, a Principal Scientific Officer at the Ghana Standards Board told an Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday that the cocaine brought into the country by the MV Benjamin vessel had a very high purity level of 98.6 per cent.
Mr. Ataki who is the third Prosecution Witness (PW3) was testifying in the case in which Joseph Kojo Dawson, 34, the vessel owner and five others including a Korean and two Chinese are being tried for their roles in the importation of the cocaine to the Tema Port in which 76 parcels are missing.
The others are Pak Bok Sil, a Korean engineer, Isaac Arhin, 49, Phillip Bruce Arhin, 49, a mechanic and Cui Xian Li, 44, a vessel engineer and Luo Yui Xing, 49, both Chinese.
Dawson has pleaded not guilty to using his property for narcotic offences while Bok Sil pleaded not guilty to one account of engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs.
Isaac Arhin, Bruce Arhin, Li and Xing have all pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in a prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and possessing of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.
Led in evidence by William Kpobi, a Principal State Attorney, prosecuting the case, PW3 told the court that as a supervisor of his department he received a rectangular box labelled "The Republic Versus Phillip Bruce Arhin and five others", containing the cocaine for analysis on July 27, last year.
"The box contained 25 slabs wrapped in a polythene material and analysis later proved to be cocaine", he told the court presided over by Justice Annin Yeboah, a Court of Appeal judge.
He said the 25 slabs had a gross weight of 27.44 kilogrammes but they sampled only 16.9 grammes of the cocaine, adding "what we did was representative of the entire exhibits. Once they bore the same crown we knew the cocaine was from the same source".
PW3 told the court that they issued a report on the analysis conducted on November 8, last year, and said during cross examination that " I could not have known what was in the samples that was not opened but they were from the same source.
The accused persons who since the commencement of the trial have been in police custody were this time around remanded into prison custody by the court.
This follow a submission by the prosecution that they wanted the accused persons to be in prison custody at James Fort in Accra citing lack of accommodation in the various police cells as their reason.
The judge then verified the prosecutor's claim from the investigator of the case who confirmed it and added that some of the cells were full of remand prisoners but the Police Administration was making efforts to decongest them.
The judge then granted the prosecution's request but asked defence counsel to go to the various police stations where their clients were kept to verify adding "if it is not convenient for you, come back for variation of order given”.
Source: The Ghanaian Times