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Editorial | Dec 15, 2011

The Cocaine Mutation

By Daily Guide

Those who are able to reminisce their secondary school chemistry days  will recall the lesson on chemical and physical changes and wonder why such mutations take place when narcotic drugs are kept in the custody of the state.

We have avoided being specific about which agency was in charge of the custody of the whitish substance which, after its identification as cocaine, mutated into something else- soda to the amazement of cynic Ghanaians, being a de ja vu enactment.

It has raised both security and political questions, heating up the already hot political landscape. The political questions have been prompted by the weird and politicized cocaine tales of the NDC-in-opposition days when news about a similar development was given a political twist by a party eager to come to power.

Today, history has repeated itself and the party which was in opposition and giving diabolic twists to everything under the sun is being subjected to whatever ordeal it administered to those in power in those days.

A silent war has been triggered between the staff of the judicial and police services over whose negligence facilitated the mutation. The police have frantically explained themselves in almost annotated presentation, in a bid to wriggle themselves out of the image-denting challenge being posed by the weird chemical change.

On 27 th September 2011, the slab of whitish substance suspected to be cocaine, sealed as an exhibit, was shown to the court and the defence. On the orders of the court, the Forensic Lab seals were broken and opened and the exhibit handed over to the court for safe keeping, a standard procedure we have learnt.

On the adjourned date, the whitish substance underwent a bizarre change, as happened during a similar scenario under the NPP.

According to the police, when the trial resumed on 28 th September 2011, the exhibit, which had earlier been admitted in evidence, was no longer cocaine. The unsealed stuff was brought from the custody of the court, with the judge ordering that the sample be re-examined by the Ghana Standards Board. On 22 nd November 2011, confusion broke out, with the police analyst re-iterating that his 29 th August 2008 test tested cocaine positive as the Ghana Standards Board analyst indicated that his examination of 29 th September 2011 was cocaine negative.

The Chief Constable is literally hot, shifting the blame to the Chief Justice by petitioning her to conduct investigations into the matter. The Vice President, on the other hand, is demanding that the Inspector General probe the confusion. Government has tasked the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to find out whether what the Police sent to the court is what went to the Standards Board and which mutated into sodium carbonate eventually, an assignment with a time limit of seven days.

The ongoing confusion is not good for the administration of justice in the country and it is our expectation something would be done now to resolve the unfolding challenge.


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