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28.01.2015 General News

Ruby Gang Case Crashes

By Daily Guide
Ruby Gang Case Crashes
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Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that the case of the six persons arrested in Ghana in connection with the 12 kilos cocaine that found its way into the United Kingdom, leading to the arrest of Nayele Ametefe aka Angel, will be discontinued very soon.

Angel, aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi aka Irene Tawiah aka Ruby Appiah, is currently serving eight years and eight months jail term in the UK.

The six suspects on trial are Abiel Ashitey Armah, Foreign Service Officer in-charge of the VVIP Lounge at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA); Ahmed Abubakar, Protocol Officer and Theophilius Kissi, a civil servant. They have all been charged for allegedly abetting Nayele Ametefe in the first case by allowing her to use the VVIP lounge.

The rest are Sadala Nuhu, Nana Akua Amponsah and Alhaji Dawood Mohammed.

Sources said investigations into the matter that dominated the political discourse in recent times had long been concluded but because a powerful National Democratic Congress (NDC) government official has allegedly been implicated, the Attorney General's Department cannot push for full trial.

Thirteen persons had earlier been arrested with their photographs widely published in the state newspapers.

Ruby 'Girls'
Sadala Nuhu and Nana Akua Amponsah – both businesswomen – who the prosecution says had travelled with Nayele Ametefeh but managed to escape from London back to Accra when she (Ametefeh) was arrested at the Heathrow Airport, are facing a charge of conspiracy.

Alhaji Dawood Mohammed is also being charged with abetment.

He allegedly made telephone calls to the boss of the VVIP section, Abiel Ashitey Armah, to facilitate the processing and embarkation of Ruby and her 'girls,' Sadala and Nana Akua, on the BA flight through the VVIP.

Pandora's Box
Some of the accused persons are said to be ready to open the 'Pandora's box' by dropping the name of the senior government official involved should the state proceed to prosecute the case. It is being alleged that some of the suspects are peeved that their assets have been frozen by the state – a claim that is yet to be verified by DAILY GUIDE .

Sources say indeed it was the said government official who personally drove Ruby and her 'girls' to the Kotoka International Airport in the evening of November 9, 2014.

It is alleged that convicted Ruby and the said official were in such furious argument that the drug baroness left her passport at her East Legon residence and one of the two ladies on trial had to rush back and fetch the document.

Frantic Calls
Furthermore, a British intelligence source also said when Ruby was arrested, the said top official's telephone number was found on the baroness' mobile telephone as one of the last persons she had called before the BA078 flight left Accra.

Additionally, the same official was alleged to be the first person Ruby had called on arrival at the Heathrow Airport in London when the plane touched down on November 10 and she was intercepted by the British law enforcers.

End Of Matter
'If they go ahead with the prosecution, the name of the NDC top man, who is a key figure in government, is likely to pop up during the trial and that is going to embarrass the government so they are ending the matter,' a credible source told DAILY GUIDE .

'They are just using the legal route of adjournment to delay the trial so that the court will technically endorse it by discharging them upon persistent demands by the suspects' lawyers. The investigation has long been concluded but they cannot do anything to the suspects,' the source claimed.

Frank Davies, counsel for Abiel Ashitey, said his client was only 'a poor officer caught in the web of circumstances.'

'He got a call and one Alhaji Dawood requested that he had visitors who are accessing the VVIP lounge and that he should grant them the necessary courtesy. Stretching the argument, one will say that he might have exercised some little bit of wrong discretion because those persons are not people who should access the VVIP lounge,' he said, adding that that does not make him a criminal.

Mr Davies is convinced his client and others 'are being held for a crime they have not committed' because Nayele never mentioned the names of persons undergoing trial in Ghana as her accomplices.

According to Mr Davies, his client has been 'caught in a web of rather irritating circumstances.'

Prior Warning
The trial judge, Francis Obiri, on January 21, 2015, made it clear to the prosecution, led by Penelope Ann Mamattah, a Chief State Attorney, that if the state continued  with their 'we are still investigating' or 'we need more time' attitude, the court would have no other option than to strike out the case for want of prosecution.

Feet Dragging
The body language of both the prosecution and the defence since the commencement of the case showed clearly that the prosecution's case was going to collapse in the long run.

Prosecuting, Penelope Mamattah has persistently told the court that investigations into the matter had still not been completed and needed more time, even though Ruby – the lady at the centre of the drug business – has been jailed with no mention of any suspected accomplices, except her lawyer's closing remarks that she was connected with 'influential people in government.'

The prosecutor once said, 'The impression is being given that we are already on trial and it is because of what some of the defence counsel have been saying.' She insisted that the case was still under investigation, adding, 'We have not yet taken a decision to go to full trial.'

High Court Case
The Chief State Attorney had said that under normal circumstances, it was the police that was required to lead the prosecution of the case at the preliminary stage but because of the high profile nature of the case, the Attorney General's Department had to come in.

She had also said the circuit court was not the appropriate forum for full trial to commence, saying, 'in the event of the case going full trial, it will go to the high court and that will be determined after all the investigations are completed.'

NDC Propaganda
There are serious indications from reliable sources that the government wanted to 'appease' the public by rounding up a number of suspects and 'mounting' a prosecution, over the frenzy that erupted when the story first broke.

The ruling party's communication team members have been hopping from one radio station to another trying to tout the government's efforts at fighting the narcotic drugs trade – which the opposition parties have described as sham.

The cocaine scandal took the usual political twist with recent remarks by the party's General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) was involved in the Ruby cocaine scandal.

The NPP had earlier queried the NDC administration's ability to fight the cocaine menace and replied in a similar measure to the general secretary's pronouncements,  describing the NDC as 'dazed' by the scandal.

VVIP Change
DAILY GUIDE gathered that a certain Colonel Boamponsem has now been appointed to oversee activities at the VVIP section of the airport.

Ruby and her alleged gang of drug smugglers, according to the charge sheet from the AG's office, used the highly restricted Very Very Important Personality (VVIP) section of the KIA – reserved for the president and his top ministers – to board flight BA078 to London on November 9.

Sources say the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) officials did not let Ruby place her handbag on the detectors due to an 'order from above' and that was how come the machines could not track the cocaine.

Simulation Exercise
However, to avoid political backlash and international embarrassment, the NDC government hurriedly organised a simulation exercise, taking the suspects to the crime scene in an attempt to make it appear as if they (suspects) had used the VIP wing instead.

During the November 27, 2014 simulation exercise, drama unfolded when a BNI official took the ladies to the exit of the VIP section of Ghana's only international airport known as the staff gate.

In the process, one of the ladies protested that that was not the place they used to embark on that abortive journey to London, but an airport staff immediately came in and claimed it was the same place and that it had changed due to renovation works.

 By William Yaw Owusu