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10.05.2007 General News

Cocaine Case: Cops To Open Defence

Cocaine Case: Cops To Open Defence

The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday ordered three policemen being tried for allegedly aiding the fugitive Sheriff Asem Dakeh to abscond with 2,280 kilogrammes of cocaine to open their defence because a prima facie case had been made against them.

The order followed the close of the prosecution's case. The prosecution called 10 witnesses and the last one concluded his evidence at the last sitting.

The accused persons are General Lance Corporal Dwamena Yabson, General Sergeant Daniel Nyarko and General Lance Corporal Peter Bondorin. A fourth accomplice, Detective Sergeant Samuel Yaw Amoah, is on the run.

The accused persons are alleged to have received an unspecified amount in dollars from the fugitive cocaine owner and allowed him to flee.

They have been charged with two counts of engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and corruption by a public officer and have pleaded not guilty to both counts.

When the case was called yesterday, Mrs Stella Badu, a Senior State Attorney, told the court that the prosecution had closed its case.

Counsel for the defence, Mr Musah Ahmed, asked for an adjournment to enable him to get copies of the proceedings and also advise himself, but before he could conclude his application, the judge, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, ruled that a case had been made against his clients.

“I am of the opinion that a prima facie case has been made against the accused persons and so they should open their defence,” the judge ruled.

The ruling cut short any attempt by counsel to make a submission of “no case” which could have dragged the trial further. The case was then adjourned to May 23, 2007 for the first accused person to open his defence.

In a related development, the trial of Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, and Alhaji Issa Abass resumed at the Fast Track High Court with a testimony from the Head of the Quality Control Laboratory of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Rev Jonathan Yaw Martey.

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 Abass faces two counts of conspiracy and supply of narcotic drugs.

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

Rev Martey said cocaine could only be confirmed by a laboratory analysis, not just taking a look at any whitish substance and describing it as such.

He said the FDB was empowered to regulate the importation and manufacture of drugs in line with the standards set by the International Narcotics Control Board.

The board, he said, did not issue permits to individuals to import narcotics, saying it was only corporate bodies which were allowed to do so after their intentions had been made known to the international body.

Rev Martey said the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) was the only entity permitted to import cocaine for scientific purposes, explaining that even that depended on the national cocaine quota of 10 grammes.

He said apart from the GSB, which last year imported 0.92 grammes of cocaine, no private individual or entity was permitted to import cocaine into the country.

Story by Stephen Sah