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General News Mon, 21 Aug 2006

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Asibi was a vengeful informant - Lawyer

Accra, Aug. 21, GNA - Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, a Legal Practitioner, on Monday told the Justice Georgina Wood Committee investigating drug related cases that Ms Grace Asibi, girlfriend of the suspected fugitive drug baron, Vasquez Geraldo Duarte David, was a vengeful Police informant.

"It is now clear that Grace Asibi is an informant to the Police, who by her own conduct has blown herself," Mr Owusu-Fordjour told the Committee in Accra.


Mr Owusu-Fordjour was appearing for Mr Patrick Ampewuah, Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), in connection with an alleged death threat on the life of Ms Asibi, a key witness in the cocaine case.


The Committee is investigating a bust of 588 kilograms of cocaine at a residence at East Legon, in connection of which Ms Asibi claimed she bribed the Police with 200,000 dollars.


Mr Owusu-Fordjour said: "As an informant, she expected the 50-50 for the goods and anything that would be discovered in that house. They discovered the cocaine, but she lost the game with the Police. "So out of vengeance she planted a false story to bring the whole house down."


Ms Asibi had alleged that following the disclosure of the bribery to the Media, Mr Ampewuah had issued a threat on her life on a cellular phone.


Mr Owusu-Fourdjour denied that a voice on the cellular phone captured on a tape recording was that of his client.

He tabled a list of itemised phone calls, between March 31, 2006 and August 15, 2006, and noted some Areeba phone numbers that featured prominently on the list suggesting that the number which Ms Asibi claimed was used in calling her on March 31, was still in use. "With a bit of luck the security agencies would be able to trace the users of these numbers, and trace the person, who was using that number.


"This is to draw conclusion that this number is not that of Mr Ampewuah," Mr Owusu-Fordjour said.


"I am saying that we never used that number, that the story about him cannot be true."


When Mr Owusu-Fordjour suggested to the Committee that it had to separate the operations at East Legon from other issues, Committee Chairperson Mrs Justice Wood replied: "We are not muddled in our minds at all.


He said the operation at East Legon, which was under the command of Mr David Asante-Apeatu, the CID Chief, was very successful and led to the arrest of some suspects, now being prosecuted in court.


"Then a lady plants a false story to divert the attention of the security agencies... It is false because the lady Grace Asibi did not have 200,000 dollars on November 25, 2005.

"She was in the service of Vasquez, but it is on record that Vasquez had left Ghana on November 10, 2005.


"The question is: Did Grace have foreknowledge of the bust for her to carry that amount of money on her at that time?


"Asibi never had the foreknowledge and never carried that money and indeed if her story is to be believed, then she is a conspirator in the possession of the cocaine, so that at anytime that they are caught they should make money ready for the Police.


"She does not have that money," Mr Owusu-Fordjour noted. Mr Owusu-Fordjour said from the evidence of Mrs Rosetta Dosoo, the Secretary and Translator of Vasquez, Grace was rather going round looking for 300,000 dollars, which she never got.


"Unfortunately for her, her cover as an informant was blown and belonging to the underworld, her identity was blown and hence the threat on her life.


"She is on record to have complained to Mrs Gina Blay that the Venezuelans were after her," he said, adding that Mr Ampewuah offered Asibi professional advice not open her shop in order not to expose herself to the Venezuelans.

Mr Owusu-Fordjour said Ms Asibi had confirmed to the Committee that she had interacted with Mr Ampewuah only once and that was in his (Ampewuah) office.


"She had also confirmed to the Committee that Mr Ampewuah had never asked her for money... But from the dialogue on the tape, she asked the male voice threatening her "Why didn't you arrest me when I came to the house?"


The conversation went on to say: "When you brought the money to us, didn't we tell you not to mention it to anybody?"


"There is no evidence on record that the two had met on the scene, neither in any house", Mr Owusu-Fordjour said.


Mr James Abiaduka, Counsel for Ms Asibi declined to make any address and said he would do so later.


Earlier Mr Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Board, who made his second appearance to the Committee, repeated his earlier statement that he listened to only a portion of the contentious tape recording.

In his first appearance, Mr Agarko said he had listened to the tape for only five minutes, and attributed a voice on it to Mr Kofi Boakye and five others, who he could not identify.


He stood his grounds the second time that he felt uncomfortable with the contents of the recording, and could not tell whether the recording was the same in the possession of the Committee. "As far as I'm concerned, I had a complete CD. I listened to a part of it and felt uncomfortable about it. I don't know if there is one tape or another", Mr Agyarko said.


Mrs Gina Blay, Editor of the "Daily Guide" newspaper, who made an appearance in connection with an in-camera publication in the paper last week declined to disclose her source.


She stood by the professional ethic of not disclosing a source in Journalism, and added that she in no way bugged the room in which the probe was held.


The 'Daily Guide' Editor told ACP Kofi Boakye's Lawyers that the newspaper had nothing to do with members of the Committee. She said apart from the Chairperson, who had become a public figure and Mr Ransford Tetteh, the President of the Ghana Journalists' Association, she did not know any of the Committee members. Ms Blay said about five media houses aside the Daily Guide also published the story.


Mr Joe Aboagye Debrah, a member of the team representing ACP Boakye, who raised concerns over the publication of the in-camera proceedings, said the team was grateful that the Committee had addressed their complaints.

Source: GNA

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