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22.05.2007 General News

I’ve No Business Ties With Sheriff - Witness

A brother of the fugitive cocaine baron, Sheriff Asem Dakeh, alias The Limping Man, yesterday told the Accra Fast Track High Court hearing the trial of the owner of the MV Benjamin and the five crew members in connection with the missing cocaine on board the vessel that he was not the Managing Director of Atico Fisheries.

Evans Charwetey Tsekobi, a mechanic, also said, “My brother does not own Atico Fisheries. I do not know the job he does and I do not have any business relationship with him.”

Tsekobi was testifying for the prosecution in the case in which the owner of the vessel, Joseph Kojo Dawson; Pak Bok Sil, a Korean; Isaac Arhin and Philip Bruce Arhin, Ghanaians; and Cui Xian Li and Luo Yin Xing, both Chinese, are alleged to have played various roles leading to the importation of 77 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 30 kilogrammes, into the country.

They have been charged with various counts of using a property for narcotic offences, engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

Each of them has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and have been remanded in prison custody.

Mr William Kpobi, a Principal State Attorney, who led the witness in evidence, showed a Charter Agreement dated January 25, 2006 to Tsekobi and said the document had his name as the Managing Director of Atico Fisheries.

Asked whether he had seen the document before, the witness replied that it was shown to him in the morning by the prosecutor and that he was not the managing director of the company.

The agreement was not read to the court, but the prosecution believed that Sheriff used the name of Atico Fisheries to charter the MV Benjamin, the vessel at the centre of the missing 77 parcels of cocaine, from Dashment Shipping Services to import the substance into Ghana.

Tsekobi admitted that Sheriff was his brother but they were from different fathers, saying he was arrested and placed in custody for parking a Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to Sheriff in his house.

During cross-examination by Mr D.K. Ameley, counsel for Bok Sil, the witness said he had been in custody since September last year and emphasised that Sheriff did not own Atico Fisheries.

According to Tsekobi, although he used to repair his brother's car for him, he had never seen his signature before.

Another witness, Chief Superintendent Alhaji Bukari Yakubu, a document examiner at the Police Forensic Laboratory, said after examining certain materials which were given to him, he was certain that Isaac Arhin's handwriting in his statement to the police and his signature on a Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) vessel movement card were similar.

“The signatures on the GPHA vessel movement card and the police statement are similar and there is high probability that they were written by the same person. The handwriting is similar to Arhin's,” he said.