Yesterday an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Iris May Brown, sentenced Roger Eklu and Ellis Nyaho Tamakloe, the son of Ghana's Ambassador to Serbia Montenegro and former Ghana Football Association Chairman, Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, to 10years imprisonment for narcotic related offences.
The court found them guilty of all the two charges preferred against them, and sentenced them to 10years imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently.
Counsel for Eklu pleaded for leniency from the court. He said his client is married with six children, who would be missing the presence of their father. He said Eklu is a hardworking person and pays his taxes.
At the last hearing, Ellis Owusu Fordjour, counsel for Tamakloe also pleaded with the court to be lenient with his client, because he was young with a fine educational background and had been led into his present difficulties by friends.
The trial judge held that she has taken in consideration the mitigations made by the defence Council and consequently sentenced Eklu and Tamakloe to 10years imprisonment, which is the minimum sentence for narcotic related offences.
The court held that had it not been the vigilance of the DHL officials, the offence would have been completed and the parcel sent to the addressee, explaining that the fact that the parcel was found in the offices of DHL did not mean that the accused persons should not be held liable.
According to the court, it was not in dispute that Eklu processed the parcel for shipment to the addressee in London, while he also admitted that he falsified the name of the original sender of the parcel, as well as the route code.
It said the deliberate act of concealing the real sender of the parcel and the route code did not exonerate Eklu from the offence and found him guilty of the two counts.
Similarly, the court held, in the case of Tamakloe, that an attempt was made to arrest Campbell who was alleged to have given the parcel to Tamakloe but he bolted and had since not been arrested.
The court said although Campbell"s absence was not fatal to the defence of Tamakloe, his testimony showed that by previous association, he knew the correct procedure in sending parcels through DHL and yet he acted to the contrary in the instant case.
Moreover, the court held that Tamakloe's complicity in using a false address and wrong signature meant he was aware of the illegality of the whole exercise.
Ellis Nyaho Tamakloe, a student and Roger Eklu, courier at DHL office in Accra, were arrested in August last year, and were standing trial on two counts of conspiracy and attempted exportation of narcotic drugs.
Both accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two counts of conspiracy to export narcotic drugs without license and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and had been remanded into police custody since their first appearance in court.
On August 30, 2006 the DHL Operations Manager while inspecting some parcels meant for documentation and airlifting to the United Kingdom at their Office at Kanda, detected that one of them contained some compressed, dried leaves suspected to be cannabis, also known as wee.
Since the parcel was in the custody of Eklu, the Operations Manager reported the matter to personnel of the Narcotics Control Board who arrested him.
A search in Eklu's room revealed a number of waybills, including a copy of the original waybill pasted on that particular parcel, which contained the suspected drugs. When he was interrogated, he mentioned Tamakloe as the one who gave the parcel to him. He was then arrested.
Tamakloe on his part told NACOB that one Harry Campbell gave him the parcel to be sent by courier to the United Kingdom, but he did not know its contents.
He subsequently led the police team to Mr Campbell's house, but he had already bolted.