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09.05.2007 Crime & Punishment

Businessman sentenced to 10 years for refining cocaine

Businessman sentenced to 10 years for refining cocaine
An Accra Regional Tribunal on Tuesday sentenced a businessman who had in his possession, a quantity of cocaine without lawful authority, to 10 years imprisonment in hard labour.

Akwasi Acheampong had concealed 3443 grams of cocaine in his clothing in his room, where he kept equipment used to refine cocaine for a fee.

Acheampong changed his plea from not guilty to guilty midway in the trial which started sometime in August 2005 and was sentenced accordingly.

The provisional charge sheet was substituted for an official charge (docket).

Mr. Justice Frank Manu, Chairman of the Tribunal convicted and sentenced him to 10 years on each of the three counts. They were to run concurrently.

, Mr. Frederick Boamah, Assistant State Attorney, told the court that the convict was a businessman in Accra. He said acting on intelligence report that Acheampong had certain instruments and chemicals that he used to process narcotic drugs, personnel from the Narcotic Control Board mounted surveillance on the activities of the convict.

On August 2005 at about 0600 hours, the convict was arrested in his single room apartment at Tantra Hill in Accra.

Mr. Boamah said a thorough search in the room of Acheampong revealed five pairs of trousers with each having two big additional pockets where 1763 grams of whitish substance suspected to be narcotic drug was found.

The Prosecutor said a black executive bag was also found containing 20 sachets of whitish substance, which was suspected to be a narcotic drug with a total gross weight of 1680 grams

According to him, items found in the convicts room included a quantity of cellotape, two plastic bags, sealing machine, latex gloves, a quantity of manicure medicine, a rolling board a pin and other paraphernalia.

He said when Acheampong was interrogated, he admitted ownership of the items and stated that the suspected drugs found in the room were brought to him by one Ernest, a Nigerian friend to prepare the consignment for him at a fee of two million cedis on every one gram of cocaine that he parceled.