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21.03.2007 General News

Cocaine suspects did not apply to import drugs - Witness


A Chief Regulatory Officer of the Food and Drugs Board on Tuesday told an Accra Fast Track High Court that none of the accused persons being held for the illegal importation of 77 parcels of cocaine into the country had permits to import the substance.

The Reverend Jonathan Yaw Martey said although he did not know the accused persons until Tuesday (today), they did not apply to import drugs.

Rev. Martey, the seventh prosecution witness, was testifying in a case in which Joseph Kojo Dawson, owner of the MV Benjamin/Adede II and Director of Dashment Fishing Company Limited and five crew members are being held for their involvement in the importation of 77 parcels of cocaine into the country.

The crewmembers are Pak Bok Sil, 46 year-old Korean Engineer; Isaac Arhin, a 49-year-old sailor; Philip Kobina Bruce Arhin, a 47 year-old mechanic; Cui Xing Li, a 44-year-old Chinese sailor, and Luo Yin Xing, a 49-year-old Chinese sailor.

Isaac Arhin, Philip Arhin, Cui and Luo are charged with possessing narcotic drugs without authority and engaging in prohibited business.

Dawson, who is being held for using his property for narcotic offence, is facing the charge of engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics.

All of them have pleaded not guilty and are in Police custody.

To buttress his point that the accused did not apply to the Board, Rev. Martey tendered four permits offered by the Board for the importation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Rev. Martey explained that those permits were offered by the Food and Drugs Board only to corporate entities and not individuals.

"The permits are usually offered in consultation with the Narcotic Control Board."

Witness explained that the FDB and NACOB also consulted the United Nations to verify the information the entity and the final destination of the substances.

Rev. Martey further denied that Asem Dake, alias Sheriff and one Captain Buk, alleged accomplices now at large, obtained permits from the Board to import drugs.

When Principal State Attorney asked whether Dashment Company and Atico Fisheries had been given permits by the Food and Drugs Board to import drugs, he replied in the negative.

Answering questions under cross-examination by Mr D.K. Ameley, Counsel for Dawson, Rev. Martey maintained that Dawson did not apply for any permit.

Defence counsel for the rest of the accused persons had no questions for the witness.

The case has been adjourned to March 27 2007.

Source: GNA