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21.03.2007 General News

‘No Permit For Cocaine Importation’

By Daily Guide

A REPRESENTATIVE OF the Food and Drugs Board yesterday told an Accra Fast Track Court that the board had not issued any permit to Dashment Company Limited, owners of MV Benjamin, to import narcotic drugs into the country.

Rev. Jonathan Yaw Martey, the representative, was testifying at the trial of the owner of MV Benjamin, Joseph Kojo Dawson, and five others at the court, presided by Justice Anim Yeboah, for their alleged role in carting the 77 missing parcels cocaine from Takoradi in the Western Region to Tema, in Greater Accra.

Rev. Martey, the chief regulatory officer, in a cross- examination by Mr D. K Amerley, counsel for Dawson said, there was no record that the board had issued any permit to the company, because the board had not received any application from the company concerning a permit.
Led in evidence by the Principal State Attorney, William Kpobi, Rev. Jonathan Martey, in charge of issuing permits when the chief director and his deputy were not at post, said the board was not familiar with the names of the accused persons, Atico Fisheries Ltd as well as the Dashment Company.

He explained that the board was a corporate body which issued permits to corporate entities to import narcotic drugs, but not to private individuals.

He further explained that after his outfit had received the application, the board would confer with the Narcotics Control Board and then contact the UN Systems, in writing, about the drugs, as well as the final destination of the consignment.

In this view, he tendered four types of permits the board could issue to corporate entities when they applied for them.

The accused persons, Joseph Kojo Dawson, Pak Bok Sil, Isaac Arhin, Phillip Bruce Arhin, Cui Xian Li, and Luo Yin Xing are facing three counts of use of property for narcotic offences, doing prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority. They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The case has been adjourned to March 27, 2007, for continuation.