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21.03.2007 General News

Kofi Boakye’s Tape In Court Today

The recorded conversation which took place in the house of ACP Kofi Boakye on the missing 77 parcels of cocaine is to be played in court today.

The conversation, which is on a Compact Disc (CD), was admitted in evidence yesterday, after the court had ruled that the information on it was relevant to the trial.

However, when the seventh prosecution witness, Detective Inspector Charles Adaba, took to the box and the CD was placed in a CD player, it could not play as a result of a technical fault, forcing an adjournment of the case.

At the court's last sitting on February 21, 2007, the prosecution sought to tender the CD through the witness, who is the investigator in the case, but the defence objected.

The defence argued, among other things, that a solid foundation had not been laid for the tendering of the CD and that since the witness did not produce it, it was not proper that he spoke about it, while its authenticity was also doubtful.

But the prosecution stated that in order to establish the source and content of the CD, it ought to be listened to.

Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, is facing four counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs, buying of narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs, while Alhaji Issah Abbas faces two counts of conspiracy and supply of narcotic drugs.

They have pleaded not guilty to all the counts and have been refused bail by the court.

Kwabena Acheampong, Tagor, Alhaji Abbas, Victor Kisseh, alias Yaw Billah, and Alhaji Moro Mohammed were earlier arraigned at the circuit court for allegedly dealing in narcotic drugs but the prosecution, on Wednesday, November 22, 2006, entered a nolle prosequi, resulting in their discharge.

However, fresh charges were preferred against Tagor and Abbas, leading to their appearance at the Fast Track High Court.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse, an Appeal Court judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, said although the production and source of the CD remained a mystery, it was of the opinion that its relevance and authenticity had been established.

It ruled that the issue of relevance was important in the admissibility of evidence, saying that in the instant case no allegations were raised to infringe the conditions of voluntary statement.

The court stated that since the CD had not been heard in full, it could not be determined whether the content was a confession statement or not and so it had been accepted in evidence.

It said evidence by some prosecution witnesses, as well as the accused persons, pointed to the fact that the conversation took place voluntarily, without duress from anybody.

For instance, the court stated that Tagor's statement was clear that they went to ACP Boakye's house in connection with the missing cocaine, although he denied any knowledge.

Similarly, Alhaji Abbas also corroborated that evidence by saying that the meeting took place in an atmosphere of relaxation and fun, the court said, adding that since there were suggestions that the meeting went on with jokes and fun, it was assumed that the accused persons were putting their case across.

Sufficient foundation, the court ruled, had been laid for the tendering of the CD, since it was consistent with the charges which had been preferred against the accused persons, adding that coupled with the evidence so far, there was some element of relevance.

The court said evidence, as used in the Evidence Decree, applied to recorded materials such as the information on the CD, while there was evidence that the accused persons and others attended a meeting.

Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, counsel for Tagor, prayed the court to adjourn the case to enable the defence to receive copies of the ruling, since it wanted to appeal against it.

The acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Gertrude Aikins, objected on the grounds that the appeal would have no effect on the CD if it was played.

Story by Stephen Sah