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26.01.2006 Diaspora (Italy)

Italy-based Ghanaian remanded for dealing in cocaine

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Accra, Jan 26, GNA - A Ghanaian trader living in Italy, was on Thursday remanded into Police custody by an Accra Regional Tribunal when he appeared before it for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of the country.

The plea of Charles Kwabena Opoku was not taken because the Prosecution informed the Court that investigations into the case were ongoing and that it needed time to get to the bottom of the matter. Consequently, the Tribunal presided over by Mr Justice Frank Manu, ordered that the accused be put in Police custody until Wednesday, February 8, when he would make his next appearance. The facts of the case as narrated by the Prosecution were that on January 20, 2006 Opoku arrived at the Kotoka International Airport to board an Alitalia flight and officials of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) asked him to open a nylon blue bag he was holding for inspection.

The Prosecution said the CEPS officials found five slabs and a round-shaped ball containing some whitish powdery substance, suspected to be cocaine.

The Prosecution stated that upon interrogation, Opoku mentioned one Hajia as the person, who gave him the items to be sent to somebody in Italy for a fee of 10,000 euros.

According to the Prosecution, the substances had been forwarded to the Ghana Standards Board for examination and that the accused was yet to lead the Police to arrest Hajia.