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25.05.2007 General News

Court rejects relocation of MV. Benjamin


An Accra Fast Track High Court on Thursday rejected an ex-parte motion seeking an order to relocate the seized MV Benjamin vessel, which was occupying too much space at Tema Harbour.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, a Court of Appeal judge said the vessel was not an exhibit before the court, adding that whoever seized it should ensure that it was relocated until the court found it necessary to do so when the vessel became part of the proceeding.

When the case was called, Mr William Kpobi, Principal State Attorney who moved in terms of an ex-parte Motion in support with an affidavit said the vessel berthed at the Tema port since October last year was posing problems for the movement of other vessels.

He said because the matter was before the court, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority had refused to relocate the vessel.
According to him the vessel could also sink and therefore should be relocated at a safe place.

This was after the vessel owner and five crewmembers were heard.

The crew are Pak Bok Sil, a 46 year-old Korean Engineer, Isaac Arhin, a 49-year-old sailor, Philip Kobina Bruce Arhin, a 47 year-old-mechanic, Cui Xing Li, a 44 year old Chinese sailor, and Luo Yin Xing, a 49-year-old sailor.

Isaac Arhin, Philip Arhin, Cui and Luo are charged for possessing narcotic drugs without authority and engaging in prohibited business.

Joseph Kojo Dawson, the owner of the vessel, who is being held for using his property for narcotic offence and Pak are facing the charge of engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics.

They have pleaded not guilty and are in Police custody.

Led in evidence by Mr Kpobi, Mr Enoch Quaye, a Company Inspector of the Registrar General's Department tendered registration documents on Atico Fisheries Limited, which had Sheriff Asem Dake as one of the directors. Mr Quaye mentioned Mr Keun Jo Lee and John Wakefield as other directors.

He said Atico Fisheries Limited was incorporated on November 22, 2002 and commenced business on November 29 the same year. Witness denied that Evans Tsewortey's name was on the registered documents.

Mr Quaye said Dashment Company Limited, owned by Dawson, John Kojo Dawson and Jonathan Klutse was also established on August 18, 1993.

Tendering documents on incorporation, witness said the company was registered to import and export of fish among others.

He said Dashment had since 1994 to 1998 been filing unaudited accounts to the Department

Answering questions during cross-examination by Mr D.K Ameley, counsel for Dawson, Witness said since 1998, no tax returns had been filed.

Mr. Quaye said he could not tell whether Dashment Company Limited was viable or not, because no tax returns was submitted after 1998.

On February 6, 2006 Dawson, who is also a businessman, indirectly without lawful authority and with the intention of facilitating an enterprise relating to narcotic drugs, did allow one Asem Dake a.k.a. Sheriff to use his vessel (MV Benjamin/MV Adede) to import 77 parcels each containing 30 kilograms of cocaine into the country without a license issued by the Ministry of Health.

Pak is also said to have repaired the MV Benjamin vessel to facilitate the transportation of the 77 parcels of cocaine from Takoradi to Tema.

Isaac, Philip, Cui and Luo on April 27, 2006, who were on board the MV Benjamin vessel, allegedly had in their possession one parcel containing 30 slabs of cocaine, each weighing about one kilogram.

The case was adjourned to May 28.

Source: GNA