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Friday, July 24, 2009

Castle takes charge of drugs fight as drug barons are freed

President John Evans Atta Mills
President John Evans Atta Mills

The President John Evans Atta Mills has transformed the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a Commission, Joy News has learnt.

The new commission, which is independent of the Interior Ministry, is expected to be run under the direct supervision of the president.

This is in line with his campaign promise of leading the fight against drug trafficking in the country.

A formal announcement of the change is expected next week.

As part of the changes, Mr. Akrasi Sarpong, a stalwart of the revolutionary days led by Jerry Rawlings takes over from Robert Ayalingo as Executive Secretary of the Commission.

Meanwhile, the Commission has received sophisticated equipment from the Dutch Government to help the drug fight.

The donation is a contribution towards the joint Ghana-UK programme against drug trafficking known as Operation West Bridge.

The equipment include searching devices for aircraft and ships as well as equipments for urine test will be deployed at all entry points in the country.

Robert Ayalingo, the outgoing head of the NACOB told Joy News’ Sammy Darko the equipment will go a long way to help the fight against the drugs.

In a separate development the Court of Appeal Friday set free Kwabena Amaning, aka Tagor, and Alhaji Issah Abass, convicted on November 28, 2007 on drug charges and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The three-man panel court unanimously agreed that the trial High Court erred fundamentally in convicting the suspects and so proceeded to acquit and discharge them.

The two were tried, found guilty and sentencedin the famous MV Benjamin cocaine case in which large parcels of cocaine were reported missing from the vessel in 2006. They had pleaded not guilty.

In April this year, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in interviews with Joy FM, intimated she would seek a review of the sentences against the two with the view to seeking their reduction.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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