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27.05.2009 General News

Court Reviews Bail Condition For Suspects

By Stephen Kwabena Effah -
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The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday reviewed the bail conditions of the six people alleged to have imported 71.45 kilogramme of suspected cocaine into the country. Under the new conditions, each of them is to deposit a title deed either owned by themselves, close relatives, or friends, with the court registrar within 48 hours and must be verified at the Land Title Registry by the registrar and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) within 21 days.

Further, those who possess passports are to submit them to NACOB, while those who do not own one are to submit their voters' identity card or any form of identity together with two passport-sized pictures.

 They are also to report to NACOB daily as well as provide two close relatives to serve as guarantors.

The accused persons are Augustina Abu, the consignee of the container in which the substances were concealed, Yaw Atta Nkansah, Alfred Amedzi, Kenedy Osei and Simon Fafa Bedy, all clearing agents and Francis Abbey, a driver.

The six, who have provisionally been charged for conspiracy to import narcotic substances were granted bail last Friday but are still in police custody in view of the weekend and the fact that Monday was a public holiday.

Their pleas have not yet been taken.
The court presided over by Mrs. Justice Iris-May Brown, warned the accused persons not to run away. She said if any of them runs away and is re-arrested, he would be put into custody until the determination of the case.

When the case was called yesterday, a State Attorney, Asiamah Sampong, informed the court that there had not been any problem regarding the earlier bail conditions, and urged the court to maintain them.

At this stage, Amofa Agyemang, counsel for Osei and Fafa Bedy, notified the court that his clients did not own passports, hence it would be difficult to fulfil that condition.

Counsel for Abbey, also said his client did not have a passport. It was upon these submissions that the court ordered those without passport to submit their voters' identity cards.

He further urged the court to make an order for the release of the truck which has been impounded by the police

He argued that the truck is not owned by his client who is a driver, adding the owner of has not been charged before the court.

Responding to it, a State Attorney, Paul Abarigah, urged the court not to release of the truck as investigations into the case was ongoing.

Rather, he urged that a motion to that effect be filed with the necessary documents covering the truck attached for consideration by the court.

But the judge asked the prosecution to come to court on the next adjourned date to justify the detention of the truck.

Mrs. Brown also asked the registrar of the court to appear in court on that date to report on the progress of the authentication of the title deeds. The case has been adjourned to Friday.

The Joint Port Control Unit at the Tema Port on May 19, 2009 intercepted the 40-footer container with the 61 parcels of substances suspected to be cocaine concealed in black polyethene bags hidden among packets of chewing gums.

This followed a tip-off. The container, consigned to Ms. Abu of Abu Augustina Enterprise, was monitored by the JPCU until it got to the scanner at the Western Gate of the port where security officials requested a 100 percent physical examination of the contents.

The check uncovered the 61.

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