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17.05.2007 General News

Another person took part in cocaine conversation – Voice Expert

By myjoyonline

An unidentified male took part in the recorded conversation on the missing 77 parcels of cocaine which took place in ACP Kofi Boakye's house, Professor John Peter French told the Accra Fast Track High Court on Wednesday.

He said if the voice of the unidentified person was that of any of the five persons whose names he knew, he would have attributed it.

Testifying under cross-examination from, Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, counsel for Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, one of the two persons being tried in connection with the missing cocaine, the witness, a voice and speech expert who was flown in from London at the instance of the prosecution, stated that he was unable to attribute a name to that voice.

Prof French was testifying as the ninth prosecution witness in the case in which Tagor and Alhaji Issah Abass are being tried for their role in the missing cocaine.

Tagor is facing four counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs, buying of narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs, while Alhaji Issah Abass faces two counts of conspiracy and supply of narcotic drugs.

They have pleaded not guilty to all the counts and have been refused bail by the court.

Kwabena Acheampong, Kwabena Amaning, Alhaji Issah Abass, Victor Kisseih, alias Yaw Billah, and Alhaji Moro Mohammed were earlier arraigned at the circuit court for allegedly dealing in narcotic drugs but the prosecution, on Wednesday, November 22, 2006, declined further prosecution, resulting in their discharge.

However, fresh charges were preferred against Tagor and Abass, leading to their appearance at the Fast Track High Court.

According to Prof French, during the conversation certain utterances could not be attributed to anyone person, adding, however, that the conversation was a natural one which took place at the volition of the participants.

He explained that certain factors, such as noise, the distance from the microphone and other insufficient material, contributed to his inability to attribute those utterances.

The witness disagreed with counsel that there was sufficient material to enable him to attribute the unidentified person who participated in the conversation because those utterances were clear.

He also disagreed that the unidentified person played the role of a provocateur and baited the other participants to speak, saying, "I did not get that impression."

Prof French said he was able to attribute voices because the names of those who participated in the conversation had been given to him to facilitate his work.

According to him, he would not have worked on the recorded conversation if the secret voice recording of the participants had been made under duress.

In the case of Tagor he said he had been told that it was made while the accused person was in prison.

He said he had the opportunity to look at the transcript of the Justice Georgina Wood Committee on the recorded conversation, as well as that of a radio broadcast, but it was not as authentic as the compact disc (CD) which was given to him to work on.

He admitted that certain portions of the conversation were inaudible, that he was not sure of some of the exact words used and added that most of the inaudible statements were those made by the unidentified conversationalist.

The witness reiterated that the conversation was not play-acted and also stated that it was difficult to say whether it was the participants of the conversation who recorded it or not.

He said although at certain stages of the conversation ACP Boakye and Kwabena Acpeampong sounded louder, it was still difficult to speculate that any of the participants recorded the conversation for his own purpose.

When a member of Tagor's legal team, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, cross-examined the witness, he admitted that there were inherent problems in analysing a recorded conversation in a language one was not familiar with.

In a related development, Detective Inspector Justice Oppong concluded his evidence at the Accra Fast Track High Court in the trial of the six persons in connection with the missing cocaine on board the MV Benjamin.

The owner of the vessel, Joseph Kojo Dawson; Pak Bok Sil, a Korean; Isaac Arhin and Philip Bruce Arhin, both Ghanaians, and Cui Xian Li and Luo Yin Xing, both Chinese, are alleged to have played various roles leading to the importation of the 77 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 30 kilogrammes, into the country.

They have been charged with various counts of using property for narcotic offences, engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

Each of them has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and have been remanded into prison custody.

Credit: Daily Graphic