24.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Two remanded on drug charges pending extradition to stand trial in US

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Accra, June 24, GNA - An Accra Magistrate's Court on Friday remanded two Ghanaians in the Nsawam Prison Custody pending their extradition to the United States of America to stand trial for their alleged involvement in narcotic drugs.

The two, Evans Kwesi Attah and Elizabeth Manu-Owusu are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute narcotic drug, conspiracy to import narcotics, both under US laws. In her ruling on the committal proceedings, Ms Florence Otu, the Presiding Magistrate said there were three things the court would like to emphasise. They were whether there was an extradition treaty between Ghana and the United States of America, whether the offence in question was an extraditable offence under the Extradition Act and the double criminality rule being satisfied.

"The conduct in question is an offence in the United States of America, which is making the request and an offence in Ghana, to which the request has been made." "The two are the persons being looked for", Ms Otu said. The plea of Attah and Manu-Owusu' were not taken.

All offences for which extradition is sought are punishable by more than one year in prison. Within 15 days, Attorneys for the accused persons should file an application for habeas corpus, in the absence of which they would be extradited. Mr Atta Akyia and Mr Osei Anto Bonsu, who represented the accused persons, left the courtroom when the Magistrate said the committal proceedings should go on.

Prosecuting, Mrs Rebecca Kabuki Adjalo, Assistant State Attorney, told the Court that sometime in 2003 and 2004, Attah was responsible for the importation and distribution of heroin from Ghana to the New York City area. She said in addition to sending packages containing quantities of heroin, Atta, the first accused, sent individuals, who had swallowed pellets of heroin from Ghana to New York City, where the pellets were expelled and the heroin distributed to a network of individuals.

The Prosecutor said in October last year Attah sent one Julius Darkwa, a Ghanaian, to the United States after Darkwa had swallowed approximately 800 grams of heroin. She said security personnel arrested Darkwa after landing at JFK International Airport in New York and indicted in the Southern District of New York.

The State Attorney stated that on November 4, last year, Attah gave Elizabeth Manu-Owusu, second accused, 400 grams of heroin in pellets to send to New York. Manu-Owusu swallowed the pellets and then attempted to depart from Ghana to London and then to New York, but the Ghanaian security arrested her and she currently in detention in Ghana.

The Prosecutor said that on February 4, this year, a Court in Accra ordered the detention of the fugitives pending their extradition. "Subsequently, we received the various documents including depositions properly authenticated and photographs of the fugitives. "As required under Section 7 of the Extradition Act 1960, Act 22, the Minister of the Interior issued a warrant for the arrest of Atta and Manu-Owusu.

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