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22.05.2009 Crime & Punishment

6 arrested over cocaine

By Daily Guide
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Six people are now in the grips of the police, following the interception of the 61 parcels of cocaine at the Tema Harbour on Tuesday.

Reliable information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that two more people have been grabbed, raising the number of suspects to six.

The latest suspects on the list include the boss of the SECO Clearing Agency, Yaw Nkansah, and another person whose identity is yet to be established.

Inside sources have hinted the paper that the second person is suspected to be the deputy clearing chief of the company. The two were reportedly arrested in the early hours of yesterday, and are also being held at the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) cells in Accra.

Even though it is likely the suspects could be arraigned this morning, indications are that full-scale prosecution into what has been described as the largest haul in the four-month-NDC administration could be delayed for a while.

According to sources, the 61 parcels, weighing some 71.4 kilograms, had transits in three different ports in three different vessels before landing at the Tema Sea Port a couple of days ago, this could therefore cause the delay in the prosecution.

NACOB, sources say, has requested the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and Shipping Giant, Maersk Ltd. to furnish it with details of the seals on the container that brought the suspected drug into the country.

According to preliminary investigations, the first vessel carrying the drug, Maersk Victoria, left the shores of Ecuador in South America on April 8, 2009 and made a stop-over at Panama City port, where the goods onboard were offloaded into Maersk Olga.

From Panama, Maersk Olga again made transit in Spain, where the forty-footer container was again transferred onto another vessel called Maersk Nolanvill, for onward shipment to Tema.

The Joint Port Control Unit, manning the Western Gate of the Port, however, discovered that the goods in one of the containers in the vessel which was labeled as containing chewing gum actually had some cocaine concealed in it.

The suspected drug, which was stashed in two large sacks alongside a heap of candies, arrived in the country on May 12, 2009, aboard the vessel with registration number 0118160.

The paper gathered that the detection was made possible through a scanner, after a truck with registration number GR 9241 A tried to go through the process with the container.  

The arrests came in the wake of claims made by the NACOB boss, ACP Robert Ayalingo, and Interior Minister, Cletus Avorka, that there was shortage of cocaine in the country, following the vigilance of the security.  

The four suspects, who had been in police custody since Tuesday, are Faustina Agbo, owner of the container, Kennedy Osei and Simon Sarfo (both employees of the Tema-based clearing agency) and Fafa Deddy, the truck driver.

Latest information indicate that going by initial developments, investigators are likely to make headway in the case, considering the way Faustina Agbo is said to be singing and cooperating with investigators.

In a related development, the newly-appointed Director-General (Operations) of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP John K. Kudalor, told the media yesterday that the seizure hoped to be a morale-booster to his 'men' who intercepted the drugs. Until his appointment, Kudalor was the Tema Regional Police Commander.

By Bennett Akuaku

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