42 slabs of cocaine gone missing… Investigations reveal
The investigative panel that was commissioned by the Minister of Interior in February to investigate the missing cocaine from the exhibit room of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has uncovered that 42 slabs of cocaine were missing from the custody of the CID.
In their report submitted to the Minister of Interior on April 24, it was detected that 12 slabs of cocaine were substituted and one whole box containing 30 slabs was found to have been stolen.
The report said “According to the Ghana Standards Board, the substance used to substitute the slabs of cocaine was proved to be corn dough.”
It further indicated that the Prampram consignment comprising 67 sacks was tested by GSB between 10th July and 8th October, 2006, and all proved to be cocaine, at which stage all the drugs were transferred into 67 empty cartons.
In October 2007, the new Director General of CID, DCOP Frank Adu Poku was appointed upon the departure of Mr. Asante Apeatu to take up an appointment with Interpol in France. Between January 28 and February 26, 2008, the whole consignment was retested by GSB upon a request by the new leadership, where it was identified that some of the cocaine had been stolen.
It noted that it was the detection of the substitution of the cocain that prompted the police administration to inform their sector minister, Hon. Bartels, who subsequently set up a panel to investigate the substitution and the missing cocaine.
According to the report, the panel interviewed 43 persons including the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong who the committee found to have no stain on his professional conduct.
The panel emphasized that they were unable to find anyone directly liable for the substitution and stealing of the cocaine. However, it was the view of the Investigation Committee that the perpetrators of the act might have used the following methods; the use of keys, or the apron at the back of the exhibit store, or by the workers engaged to fix reinforcement, or at the time the Venezuelan cocaine was being carted out for destruction, or possibly the taking of advantage of frequent electricity outage of the time or the possible tempering of the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) facility.
The report re-emphasized that the most possible of the assumptions were the use of keys, or at the time the Venezuelan cocaine was being carted out for destruction, adding that in each of the possibilities, DSP Patrick Akagbo was the key figure.
It stated that there is evidence that three informants received GH¢ 5,000 from the former head of the Organized Crime Unit, Mr. Adu Amankwah as a result of the representation they made to him which turned out later to be false.
Their crime, which the Committee defined as deceit of a public officer or defrauding by false pretence, since they were able to deceive both the Minister and Mr. Adu Amankwah.
It went on to say that in spite of the presence of a CCTV facility at the CID Exhibit Room and a 24hour guard, the exhibit room had a louver glass window through which a mischief minded person could gain ingress into the room and efforts to block this obvious access had not been taken seriously by those responsible, while the CCTV was not working and not attended to by monitors as expected.
The report intimated that the person who had the keys to the exhibit store, DSP Akagbo might be the obvious suspect in the offence under investigation.
“He had no business keeping the exhibits store keys when his unit had nothing to do with the Prampram case and he could have reported the refusal of Mr. Adu Amankwah to take over the keys to the Director General of CID or higher authority.
The fact that he kept the keys all this while and that he failed to take proper steps to supervise the structural works being done to strengthen the store render him as a prime suspect,” the report stressed. The Police Public Relations Director, DSP Kwesi Ofori told the press yesterday that he could not comment on the report because they received their copy only at the close of last week.
He, however, corrected the media's erroneous reports that all the 67 parcels at the sixth floor of the CID headquarters had been stolen, adding that they were very much concerned about the missing 42slabs and were still investigating the perpetrators of the act.
Media men were taken to the exhibit store room for inspection of the rest of the cocaine in the CID custody