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08.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Police Seek INTERPOL’s Help

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Police Seek INTERPOL’s Help

The Ghana Police Service is liaising with Interpol to arrest and extradite to Ghana Mr Mark Lardy, a resident of the United Kingdom UK identified as the one who engaged couriers to send cocaine to him in the UK.

The police prosecutor in the case, DSP Abichab Boye made this known at the Accra circuit court yesterday when six Ghanaians, including four policemen and a member of the British army, who were remanded in custody by the court for an alleged cocaine deal and extortion made their second appearance.

DSP Boye prayed the court to remand the accused persons because the man behind the whole deal had been traced to the UK arguing that that would enable the police to arrest him to assist in investigations into the matter.

The accused persons, Deric Osei Owusu, a Ghanaian-born British soldier, Leonard Banafo, a student, Detective Sergeant Stanley Gbeglo, Lance Corporals Karimu Osumanu, Ebenezer Ogbordjo and J. K. Mensah, all stationed at the Cantonments Police Station in Accra were remanded to reappear on June 14, 2005.

The court further ordered Owusu and Banafo to deposit their passports with the court registrar by 4 p.m. yesterday.

Owusu and Banafo pleaded not guilty to one count of possessing narcotic drugs, while the policemen also pleaded not guilty to one count of extortion.

Owusu was believed to be among a gang of dealers who were preparing some couriers to swallow 163 pellets of cocaine at a discotheque at Adabraka when the policemen, upon a tip-off, went there, ostensibly to arrest them.

However, on reaching the location, the policemen allegedly demanded a bribe of $60,000 but were offered $18,000 and a car. But when they allegedly refused the offer saying they were not enough, Owusu and Banafo went round Accra, raising an additional £600 and ¢3 million.

All the accused persons were remanded by the court last week because, according to the prosecution, some of the people who had been mentioned in connection with the case, including those who managed to swallow some of the pellets, were on the run.

The facts of the case are that on May 27, 2005, the Regional Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had information that Sgt Gbeglo and Cpls Osuman, Ogbordjo and Mensah had arrested Owusu and Banafo in a hotel at Laterbiokoshie with a quantity of cocaine and were extorting $60,000 from them.

Based on that information, a team from the Regional CID trailed them to a discotheque at Adabraka, where they met Owusu and Banafo in handcuffs while Sgt Gbeglo and Cpl Osuman stood by them.

Cpls Ogbordjo and Mensah managed to escape when they saw the CID team but the rest of them were arrested and escorted to the Deputy Regional Commander's office where a search was conducted on them.

The search revealed 163 thumb-sized, oval shaped substances suspected to be cocaine, $18,000, £600 and ¢3 million in a polythene bag which was found with Gbeglo.

Owusu was said to have claimed ownership of the suspected cocaine and stated that the policemen, after arresting them, demanded an amount of $60,000 but they were able to raise $18,000, £600 and ¢3 million through Yusif at Zongo Lane, who contributed $10,000, while the proprietor of a forex bureau at Adabraka provided $8,000.

The £600 and ¢3 million were claimed by Owusu as his personal contribution.

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