Friday, August 7, 2009
ALL SET FOR COCAINE RE-TRIAL
…Georgina Wood, Kan-Dapaah, Francis Poku, former IGP to be star-witnesses.
Special report: Richmond Keelson
The President, John Evans Atta Mills, is all set to re-open the trial of the famous 77 parcel cocaine case that involved the suspected lost of narcotic drugs brought into the country by the sailing ship-MV Adede 2/ Benjamin on April 27th, 2006. And like the previous trial, a fact finding Commission of enquiry is expected to precede the new trial.
Information gathered suggests that two former government officials and the current Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, will be subpoenaed during the Commission sitting. Then Interior Minister Albert Kan Dapaah and Mr. Francis Poku, the former Minister of National Security and the immediate past Inspector General of Police, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, are expected to answer questions on the respective roles they played, including the appearances some of them made at the previous Committee sitting.
ACP Kofi Boakye, at the time the Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service; Kwabena Amaning, aka Tagor, Alhaji Issah Abass, who were recently acquitted by the Appeal court after they were found guilty by an Accra High court for their respective roles in the cocaine case, Kwabena Acheampong and Alhaji Imoro, are also expected to testify at the Commission.
TODAY's sorties at the presidency offer indication that as a Presidential Commission, the new panel will be empowered with the full powers of a High Court, where people subpoenaed will have no option than to comply; failure of which a penalty similar to an offence as heinous as contempt of court would be preferred against any invitee. That new Commission is therefore expected to be different from the Committee that was set up by the former administration that, strictly speaking, had no legal power.
The Commission is also expected to establish the authenticity or otherwise of the rumours that the conviction of Tagor and Alhaji Abass were made to appease American and British interest in the case. This is because as submitted by one of the Appeal Court Judges J. A Yaw Apau in his ruling, the High Court that trialled the case earlier “fundamentally erred in judgement,” noting that “the conviction and sentence of the appellants on all the charges constitutes a cancerous tumor in our legal anatomy that should not be made to eat into and infect our lower courts. That needed to be flushed out from the system and confined to the waste bin”.
In the said ruling, the learned Judge argued that there was not enough evidence to implicate the two gentlemen let alone to incarcerate them.
According to the Executive summary of the Georgina Wood Committee, “On the 21st of April 2006, the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) received intelligence reports from their intelligence counterparts that a Vessel by name MV Adede 2 ,which was suspected to be carrying narcotic drugs, was moving into West African Waters. The international partners subsequently supplied the NACOB with aerial and side photographs of the vessel and continued to monitor it until it was 40 nautical miles within Tema…
On the 25th of April 2006, the NACOB sought the assistance of the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Air Force to assist in tracking the Vessel. On the 26th of April 2006, the AIR FORCE carried out air reconnaissance exercise in the hope of locating the vessel, but was unable to sight it. The Ghana Navy's use of its vessel GNS ANZONE to search for the Benjamin also proved futile.
The Vessel was finally located on the 27th of April 2006, at around 0600 hours at the TEMA HARBOUR ANCHORAGE area, under the name MV Benjamin. Only one sack of a substance, which on being tested proved to be cocaine, was discovered in the hatchet of MV Benjamin”.
And the Commission would be seeking answers from witnesses on how the suspected 77 parcels purportedly reduced drastically to just one.
As the chairman of the Committee of enquiry that investigated the missing cocaine case, Chief Justice Georgina Wood, TODAY gathered, would be questioned on some aspects of the proceedings, which in the opinion of the Appeal Court, could not establish who really imported the alleged 77 parcels of cocaine into the country and other related matters.
In his ruling, Justice Apau contended that the Justice Georgina Wood Commission, “in discharging its duties, hit the rocks as it did not make any headway in tracing the 76 parcels of cocaine that was allegedly stolen from the Vessel, granted the allegation was true. So as to whether or not there were some 76 parcels of cocaine that were stolen from a vessel by unknown persons remains a mystery up to this time that I am reading my opinion”.
She is also expected to answer questions relating to her inability to deal with the police officers who brutalized star witness- Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor during one of the committee's sittings. That indiscretion on the part of the Chief Justice, it is argued, caused the refusal of Amaning and other witnesses like Alhaji Abass and Alhaji Moro to continue with their testimonies to the Georgina Wood Committee.
As the Interior Minister, upon whose orders the Committee was established, Hon. Kan Dapaah is expected to tell the yet-to-be inaugurated Committee why he failed to take action on the brutalities and rather accepted with no questions recommendations made by the Georgina Wood Committee for the trial of those recommended.
On July 4, 2006, Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah inaugurated a five member Ministerial Fact Finding Committee to determine a number of questions of fact relating to the cocaine lost. The Committee was to determine the facts leading to the suspected loss of narcotic drugs brought into the country by the MV Benjamin ship; and secondly to determine allegation of bribery levelled against some Senior Police Officers in respect of the seizure of the narcotic drugs from a House with plot Plot No. 348, Mempeasem, East Legon.
On the part of Mr. Francis Poku, TODAY discovered from its findings that as one of the forty individuals and institutions who gave evidence, the Presidential Commission will find out from him exactly what he told the Georgina Wood Committee and whether there would be the need to cross examine him on his submission.
In the case of ACP Kofi Boakye, Kwabena Amaning, Alhaji Issah Abass, Kwabena Acheampong and Alhaji Imoro, the Commission would be seeking answers from them on the purported meeting that was held at the official residence of ACP Kofi Boakye and whether the said meeting had anything to do with the rumours that the former Director General of the Ghana Police Service raided the MV Benjamin with his men and stole the cocaine.
The paper found that the Committee will be interested in why Alhaji Abass recorded proceedings of the said meeting and whether he did that on his own volition; where he sent the recording and for what purpose; and who was the last person in the chain of the many listeners of the tape who finally sent it to former President Kufuor.
From the said recording, the Mills Committee would be seeking to find out whether indeed Kwabena Amaning and Alhaji Abass confessed to a number of narcotic drug deals they had engaged in in the past and the use to which they had put some of the money which accrued from the deals as captured in the findings of the Georgina Wood Committee.
The Commission is also expected to take evidence from former and serving officials of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB); the Ghana Navy; the Ghana Air-force; the head of the Pathology Department, other Police Officers, and the other Crew Members aboard the MV Benjamin ship.
Source: theghanaianjournal - The Ghanaian Journal
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