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01.03.2012 General News

Businessman gets 10yrs …for possessing cocaine

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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By Helena Selby
An Accra circuit court has sentenced a businessman to 10 years imprisonment in hard labour for possessing 66 pellets of cocaine.

Eric Afriyie Acheampong was convicted on all three counts of conspiracy, attempted exportation of cocaine and possession of narcotic drug and sentenced to 10 years on each count to run concurrently.

According to the court, presided over by Mr. Eric Kyei-Baffour, the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Eric Afriyie Acheampong, who was arrested by suspicion of his demeanor at the Kotoka International Airport by the Narcotic Control Officials, while he was going through departure formalities, committed the offence.

Upon his arrest, Acheampong accepted ownership of the item but denied its content, adding that the second and third accused persons, one Awal and Mohammed, currently at large, gave the item to him to be given to one Evelyn in Italy.

He was charged with conspiracy related to prohibited business in narcotic drugs contrary to sections 56 and 3(2), attempted exportation of cocaine, a narcotic drug without license issued by the Minister for Health, contrary to section 56 (a) and 1(10), and possession of narcotic drug contrary to section 2 (1) all of PNDC Law 236, 1990.

The second and third accused persons were charged with supply of narcotic drug without lawful authority contrary to section 6 (1).

The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy, with explanation to charges of attempted exportation of cocaine and possession of narcotic drug. However, the court, after listening to his explanation, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

The accused person, who denied knowledge of the content of the item, told the court in his evidence that on April 3, 2008, Awal called him and said he wanted to hand a parcel to him to deliver in Italy on his behalf, and it was one Yakubu who brought the parcel to him, on behalf of Awal.

He took the item to the airport on April 4, 2008, when he was arrested for possessing the narcotic drug. He denied knowing the content of the parcel being narcotic drugs.

The court noted that the report of the Ghana Standard Authority, after a test on the substance proved positive for cocaine.

Additionally, the court indicated that the third prosecution witness, Inspector Hans Addai, in his evidence disclosed that while on duty at the Narcotic Control Board on that fateful day, Acheampong mentioned the second and third accused persons as his sources of supply, when he was brought to him for investigations.

The first prosecution witness testified that when he approached the accused, he demanded if the contents of the bag were his, to which the accused answered in the positive, which story was corroborated by the second prosecution witness.

The accused denied knowledge by claiming that when Awal gave him the items to be given to Evelyn in Italy, he did not check the content of the items.

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