General News Tue, 1 Aug 2006

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CID Boss: I took no drugs money

The Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Patrick Kwabena Ampewuah, who has been accused of taking a $200,000 bribe from Grace Asibi, the female companion of alleged Venezuelan drug baron David Vasquez Duarte Gerardo, Monday denied taking the said money to influence other police personnel.

Appearing before the Wood Committee set up to look into alleged police complicity in the missing cocaine exhibits Monday, Mr Ampewuah insisted that while he did meet Ms Asibi on two occasions, once on the corridors of the CID headquarters and when Edward Tabiri, another officer named in the bribery allegation, introduced her to him as one of two informants in the case.

He said at the meeting, which lasted for less than five minutes, the lady looked worried and complained that some officers were trying to harm her. She also told him that she wanted to get him help her get permission from the police to reopen her shop at Osu which had been closed down by the police for investigations to be conducted.

Mr Ampewuah again denied ever calling or meeting Ms Asibi and demanding a bribe. He also disputed a recorded voice alleged to be his, insisting, “I deny the language, voice and tape…I'm an Akan man…and the accent on the tape does not match with how I speak as a Kwahu man”.

Ms Asibi, who had earlier told the Committee that she was ready to provide information on numbers used to call her, failed to do so saying she had lost her phone and the chip bearing the numbers.

Mr Ampewuah debunked the claim that he promised to help her with the case. According to him, the CID director himself was the one directly in charge of the case and had travelled to South Africa on the day they met, so there was no way he could have seen her since “informants are highly protected”. At the meeting, he advised Ms Asibi to stay away from the CID headquarters when she complained about threats to her life, Mr Ampewuah, added.

Ms Asibi, who had earlier told the committee that she was ready to provide information on numbers used to call her, failed to do so saying she gave out the chip containing the number to her sister because she was frightened by the incessant calls that kept coming through, however, her sister had lost her phone together with the chip bearing the numbers.

Answering questions from counsel for Ms Asibi, Mr Ampewuah also denied planting a story that mentioned Asibi as an informant in the Daily Guide, claiming that he was shocked when he saw the said article in the newspapers because by the rules in the service, such informants are treated with utmost secrecy. Counsel for Asibi, however, stated categorically, that his client was not an informant. The Committee Chairman, Mrs Wood, therefore directed that personnel from the Daily Guide appear before the Committee today to assist it clear the air regarding their alleged involvement.

Alhaji Issa Abass, a Tema-based businessman, also appearing before the committee, admitted that he, together with ACP Kofi Boakye, Kwabena Amening also known as Tegor, and another business man, who is alleged to be a drug baron, and a certain Moro who resides in Kumasi and has close contacts at the Manhyia Palace, had a meeting in ACP Kofi Boakye’s house to discuss rumours about drugs having been moved to the Tema port.

He told the committee he had been doing legal business with the Police Service by supplying them with tires and cars on contracts won through tender. Because Kofi Boakye happened to be his personal friend, he occasionally visited him at his office to discuss personal matters, he added.

He said it was ACP Kofi Boakye who confronted him with the accusation that he (Alhaji Abbas) together with some police personnel had gone to the port to dislodge the said drugs from the vessel MV Benjamin. He told the fact-finding committee that he informed Mr Boakye that he had been aware of the rumour in town for over a month, however, since he had not even been to the port to ascertain the facts, he had decided to ignore it.

Alhaji Issah, a former sailor who is also the Chief Executive Office of the Ghaixipex, a company that imports Russian cars, said he was not aware that the said meeting was recorded but admitted that Tegor received a number of calls during the meeting. He also denied reports that Kofi Boakye took money from either of them, stressing that the issue of money was not discussed at all at the meeting.

Giving evidence, Moro Mohammed, who was also at the meeting, told the committee members that Tegor approached him and requested a meeting with the Otumfuo, but when he enquired about the reason for the meeting, Tegor could not give any cogent reasons.

He stated that on his way to the Manhyia Palace, he realised Tegor was following him. He tried to stop him. However, while speaking with him, Tegor burst into uncontrollable tears, so he coaxed him to tell him what the problem was. It was then that Tegor revealed that he was expecting some “goods” but ACP Kofi Boakye had gotten wind of it and wanted to arrest him.

After hearing this news, Moro than told him that he was lucky he did not narrate this story to the Asantehene because if he had, he would have been handed over to the police immediately, since the Otumfuo would not condone such acts of lawlessness. He therefore advised him to go home and rest, after promising him that he will discuss the matter with Kofi Boakye the next morning. After some disagreement over the venue for the meeting, it was finally agreed that the meeting be held in ACP Kofi Boakye’s house. At the meeting, Tegor complained that “some Mafias from Columbia wanted to kill him.” “Upon hearing this, I got frightened since the issue had taken a different dimension, and I drove off.”

The chairman of the committee has directed that Tegor be arrested and brought to face the committee since his name has repeatedly come up as a prime suspect. Sitting continues today.

Source: Statesman

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