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13.07.2005 Crime & Punishment

Insurance agent gets 14 years for dealing in drugs


Accra July 13, GNA - A 32-year-old insurance agent who concealed a quantity of heroine in two hand luggage was on Thursday sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal. Kwabena Ankomah-Darko charged with possessing 12.954 kilogrammes of heroine pleaded not guilty but was the tribunal found him guilty.

Earlier, the tribunal upheld a submission of no case against Mamaa Ankomah-Darko, his wife who was standing trial with him and discharged her. Before sentence was passed, Ankomah-Darko's counsel pleaded with the tribunal to deal leniently with him since he was a first offender and bread winner. According to his counsel, the accused was still young and a long period of incarceration would jeopardize his future as well as his children. "A long incarceration would bring untold hardship to his wife who would now have to struggle to cater for them." Counsel further pleaded with the court to release all items seized by officials of the Narcotics Control Board since the prosecution could not lead evidence to show that they had any relation to the offence.

The court noted that Ankomah-Darko's excuse that he did not know the content of the items given to him by one Jerry Ankomah to be sent to the USA could not be taken seriously. "The accused knew the contents of the bag and therefore his ignorance of the content of the bags cannot be taken seriously," the court said.

The facts as presented by the prosecutor Mr Johannes Veggie, a State Attorney, was that on July 10, last year at 0115 hours, Ankomah-Darko and his wife arrived at the Kotoka International Airport to board a Ghana Airways flight number GH 150 to New York. The prosecution said Anokmah-Darko and his wife were travelling with an American and Ghana passport respectively. They also had their two children with them. According to the prosecution, they went through boarding facilities with their hand luggage stuffed with children's wear, a brassier and an elastic hair band. Ankomah-Darko handled two hand luggage, while his wife held their two children.

At the last check point, the two hand luggage were searched by aviation security and each of the luggage was found to contain two large parcels of powdery substances suspected to be narcotic drugs hidden in a false compartment. They were arrested and the drugs were forwarded to Ghana Standards Board for analytical examination. The prosecution said the report on the examination of the substances proved to be heroine with net weight of 12.954 kilogrammes.