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31.05.2007 Crime & Punishment

Prosecution Closes Case On Tagor, Abass

The prosecution in the cocaine trial of Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, and Alhaji Issah Abass yesterday surprised the defence when it told the Accra Fast Track High Court hearing the case that it had closed the case.

“My Lord, at the last sitting we did indicate to the court that we might call one or two more witnesses to close the case but we are not calling any more witnesses. This is the end of the case of the prosecution,” said Mr Edward Agyemang Duodo, a Principal State Attorney.

Following that development, the lead counsel for Tagor, Mr Ellis Owusu Fordjour, who had braced himself for the day's work by arriving very early for the next prosecution witness to be called, asked for an adjournment, saying, “My Lord, we will ask for an adjournment and then come back.”

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse, a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, adjourned the case to June 6, 2007.

“The prosecution having closed its case, the case is hereby adjourned to allow the defence to apprise the court of its next line of action,” the judge declared.

Two options are open to the defence, namely, to file a submission of no case or go ahead to open its defence.

Mr Fordjour would not grant an interview when asked of his next line of action and said, “I do not want to pre-empt anything.”

The prosecution called 11 witnesses in the case in which Tagor and Abass are being tried for their roles in the missing 76 parcels of cocaine, which were stolen from the MV Benjamin in April last year before the security agencies intercepted the vessel at the Tema Port.

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 Issah 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 by the court.

Initially Kwabena Acheampong, Kwabena Amaning (Tagor), Alhaji Issah Abass, Victor Kisseh, alias Yaw Billah, and Alhaji Moro Mohammed were arraigned at the Accra Circuit Court for allegedly dealing in narcotic drugs.

Some of them were said to have engaged in a conversation at the residence of ACP Kofi Boakye relating to the missing cocaine, the subject of which led to the setting up of the Georgina Wood Committee.

However, on Wednesday, November 22 2006, the prosecution entered a nolle prosequi (not willing to prosecute), resulting in the discharge of the accused persons but fresh charges were preferred against Tagor and Abass, leading to their appearance at the Fast Track High Court.

Story by Stephen Sah