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16.05.2007 General News

Controversy at trial of Tagor, Abass

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The trial of two self-confessed drug barons took a dramatic turn on Tuesday when an international forensic voice expert told the Fast Track High Court that the controversial "Kofi Boakye tape" played and admitted in evidence was not the one he had worked on.

Professor John Peter French of J P French Associates in the United Kingdom said the compact disc he worked on was 700 megabytes with an inscription "KB" marked with a green pen on it.

Testifying in the case of Kwabena Amaning aka Tagor and Alhaji Issa Abass, alleged self-confessed drug barons jointly charged for conspiracy, Prof French said the CD admitted in evidence was 650 megabytes.

The ninth prosecution witness, who also analyses speeches on digital and magnetic recordings, told the court that he could, however, identify contents of the CD when played in court.

Tagor has additionally been charged with carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, buying and supplying of narcotic drugs, while Abass is being held for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs.

They have pleaded not guilty before the court presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse. The accused have been remanded.

As soon as Mr Agyeman Duodu, Principal State prayed the court to play the CD, Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, counsel for Tagor, objected to it.

Mr Owusu-Fordjour said from the evidence adduced by Professor French, he did not work on the CD admitted by the court adding that he had been able to show the court the difference on the two tapes.

He said the CD should not be played because he did not work on it, adding that it was only going to be "guess work."

The prosecution, however, maintained that if the witness could identify it when played, the court should allow that because it had already been admitted in evidence.

When the court asked the defence and prosecution for the copies of the recordings, none of them had theirs in court.

Admitting that the CD was not the one the witness had worked on, the court ruled that the CD be played because he could authenticate its contents.

When the one hour and two minutes CD was played and Prof French timed it, he said the content was the same.

Narrating how he came across the tape, Prof French said in September last year, Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister for Justice and Attorney General, met him in London and informed him about the tape.

Prof. French of the University of Yorke, UK, said the Attorney General informed him that the tape contained the recording of a meeting between a senior Police officer and five other persons believed to be involved in drug trafficking.

They were Assistant Commissioner of Police Kofi Boakye, Alhaji Immoro, Kwabena Acheampong, Tagor and Issa.

Witness led in evidence by Mr Duodu said he was asked to compare the voices on the tape and find out whether or not they had been tampered with or edited.

Professor French said he requested for sample voices in order to compare them with the original recordings.

He said since the participants of the meeting spoke in Twi, he also wrote to some universities around the world for an interpreter.
According to him, Dr Kofi Agyekum of the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana was recommended.

Dr Agyekum, the witness said, translated the conversation into English. The sample voices recorded were also played in court.

The case of the Prosecution is that the accused are self-confessed drug barons, who since 2004 had been actively engaged in activities of promoting and establishing various enterprises relating to narcotic drugs.

Hearing continues on May 16.

Source: GNA

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