The infamous ACP Kofi Boakye tape allegedly recorded at his residence in a conversation with suspected drug dealers, Kwabena Amaning alias Tagor, and five others, which was to be tendered for the second time as evidence, appears to be in danger, as it failed to play in court yesterday.
Not even a special ghetto blaster brought in by Detective Inspector Charles Adaba, the investigator who was to testify in the case, could make the tape play. It emitted only some inaudible sounds.
This was during the trial of Tagor and Alhaji Issah Abass for their alleged dealing in cocaine.
The failure of the tape to play prompted the Fast-Track Court Judge, Justice Jones Dotse, to ask Ms. Gertrude Aikins, acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) what was going on.
Ms Aikins said she had no idea until a court clerk explained that the tape had a technical fault and could not be played.
As if fate had conspired with Tagor and Issah, who had earlier protested against the use of the tape as evidence, the tape could not play after so many attempts and the judge had no option but to adjourn proceedings to a latter day so that the tape could be put in order.
Ellis Owusu Fordjour, lead counsel for Tagor, after the trial judge overruled their objection to tendering of the tape in court, asked for a copy of the ruling to enable them study it to decide the next line of action because they intended to appeal against the ruling.
He subsequently asked for an adjournment of the matter to enable them study the ruling, which he said, was thought-provoking, prior to playing the tape.
On her part however, Ms. Gertrude Aikins was of the view that an intention to appeal did not need a stay of proceedings and continuation of the trial could not affect their appeal so the court should play the tape.
However, Tagor's lead counsel still prayed the court to adjourn the matter, which led to the judge dismissing their application on the grounds that failure of the tape to play or otherwise did not warrant a stay of proceedings, insisting that whatever decision the court of appeal took would be respected by the lower court.
On his ruling that the tape be tendered in court, Justice Dotse noted that the conversation at the house of the then Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Kofi Boakye, was in an atmosphere of freedom, contrary to claims by defence counsel that the information on it was not voluntary.
He however said claims by the prosecuting team that the tape contained a confession statement by the accused persons, was not right because in Ghana, the innocence of a person was assumed until proven guilty by the court; so it was up to the prosecution to prove that the tape was what they claimed it was.
On submissions by the defence team that the tape should not be tendered because its originality was in doubt, he explained that even though the source of the tape was not known, the accused persons in their caution statement admitted that a conversation did take place at Kofi Boakye's house.
Tagor and Alhaji Issah, in their conversation under a tree at Kofi's house, allegedly agreed to look for the 76 missing parcels of cocaine which were allegedly imported into the country by the limping fugitive, Asem Dake a.k.a Sheriff, because the booty was too much for one man to enjoy.
Other people at the house of Kofi Boakye included Kwabena Acheampong, Victor Kisseh, Kwadwo Ababio and Alhaji Moro who were all arrested but had since been acquitted and discharged by the Attorney-General.
They were arrested while testifying at the Georgina Wood Committee set up by the government to investigate the whereabouts of the missing cocaine ferried by MV Benjamin to Tema from Takoradi in the Western Region.
The accused persons have pleaded not guilty to four counts of conspiracy to commit crime, doing prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, buying and supply of narcotic drugs.
Information gathered by Daily Guide from an ICT expert indicated that the tape failed to play because the gadget used was not compatible with it. The expert noted that had an MP3 system or a computer primed for the tape been used, it could have played perfectly.