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02.12.2005 General News

I was in US to buy watches -Amoateng

By Daily Guide
I was in US to buy watches -Amoateng
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Amoateng Swears In A Letter To Speaker The case of the busted Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North Constituency, Hon. Eric Amoateng, who is facing trial in the New York court for drug trafficking has taken a new twist, with his accomplice in the heroin case, Nii Okai Adjei, absolving the parliamentarian from the crime. Information available to Daily Guide indicates the embattled Nkoranza North MP, who was alleged to have smuggled heroin worth $6 million to the United States, on November 9, 2005, has been cleared by Nii Adjei, from any wrong-doing, saying, the MP was a victim of circumstances. Hon. Amoateng, had also written to the Speaker of Parliament, claiming innocent of the drug-trafficking charges. Hon. Amoateng, who confirmed his arrest and subsequent detention at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Brooklyn, New York, insisted in his statement to the Speaker that he had nothing to do with the alleged drug-trafficking. It is headlined: “A Statement Issued By Hon. Eric Amoateng In Connection With, And Response To The Events Of The Last Few Weeks, Regarding My Arrest in New York City. To: Speaker of the House.
“I affirm before my nation that, the allegations against me are false. I have not done anything wrong. “I emphatically and categorically deny the charges levelled against me. I pray to God that in due time, and soon, all the facts will come out and I would be totally exonerated,” he stated in the letter, sent through Dennis Adjei Brenya Esq., his accredited attorney at New Hampstead, New York. He warned against inaccurate media reports on his arrest, saying the media ought to respect his right of a fair hearing, until, until pronounced otherwise. “I ask the press to desist from unfairly trying and 'convicting' me in the press, without the benefit of the full facts, underlying the case. Our own constitutional imperatives demand that, I should be presumed innocent, and I am in innocent,” he stressed. Daily Guide learnt Hon Amoateng's accomplice, Nii Okai Adjei had given a statement to the US officials, indicating the Nkoranza North MP was not involved in any drug deal. The MP had also pleaded his innocence, before a team of Ghanaian consulate officers, from the Consulate-General of Ghana's Office in New York. Recounting his innocence, Hon. Amoateng told the consulate officers that, he travelled to New York on a purely commercial trip, to purchase watches in large quantities for re-sale in Ghana. However, on his flight from Accra, aboard a New York-bound Emirates airliner, on Thursday, November 9, 2005, he met Nii Adjei whom he conceded was a friend he had known for over a decade, when he was teacher at Nungua in Accra. He also, indicated he knew Adjei's family members at Nungua. On their arrival in New York on November 10, 2005, the Nkoranza MP explained, both of them lodged at the Grand Union Hotel in Manhattan, where Mr. Amoateng claimed he had made prior reservation. He stated that, Nii Adjei invited him to accompany him to JFK Airport, the next day of their arrival, after introducing a man, named Gameli, to him, to collect a cargo meant for Nii Adjei. According to Mr. Amoateng, on Friday November 11, 2005, he accompanied Nii Adjei and Gameli to the JFK Airport, as previously arranged in a rented van to collect the cargo to the storage warehouse in Staten Island. However, after off-loading the items, they returned to their hotel, where they spent the rest of the day. On Saturday morning, upon the request of Nii Adjei, the Nkoranza MP stated that his long-time friend again asked him to accompany him to the storage facility to retrieve some ceramic vases from the cargo, for sale, which Nii said, his business partner had directed him to do. At the storage facility, Mr. Amoateng said his friend sought his assistance in opening some specific boxes. Upon inspecting the cargo, they realised most of the vases were broken, enabling some powdery substance to spill out. At this point, the embattled MP explained, Nii Adjei expressed his displeasure at the state of the cargo and suggested that the boxes be closed, pending the filing of a complaint with the airline that brought the goods to the U.S. He explained further that, it was on their way out of the warehouse that they were accosted by a team of custom agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and were arrested, together with the driver of the rented vehicle.
However, he said, to his chagrin, the driver was later released, after a short interrogation, and they were committed to the Metropolitan Detention Centre, and later brought before a court, on Monday, November 14, 2005. Mr. Amoateng insisted that he was not involved in any attempt to import narcotic drugs into the U.S.
The Nkoranza MP was represented at the initial hearing by a certain Michael Hurwitz of Stampur and Roin Law firm in New York. Mr. Amoateng, Daily Guide learnt might beef up his legal team with another New York lawyer, John Patten, if it becomes necessary. Hon. Amoateng emphasised that Nana Darko Busia is not known to be in his legal team.