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General News Mon, 14 Aug 2006

"Cocaine Committee" sits in camera

Accra, Aug 14, GNA - The Justice Georgina Wood Committee investigating two major cocaine-related cases that hit the country late last year and early this year began sitting in camera on Monday to hear testimonies from some key witnesses.

Mr Ransford Tetteh, Secretary to the Committee, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the Committee decided to listen to a number of people in camera because their testimony bordered on national security. He would not identify those who would appear before the Committee during the two days of closed-door sitting.

However, it is believed that top Police Officers and Naval Officers are among those who would appear.

The Committee is investigating the disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 30 kilograms, from a ship MV Benjamin and alleged bribery involving Policemen following the seizure of 588 kilograms of cocaine at East Legon

According to the Ministry of the Interior, on April 27, 2006, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) received intelligence information that a ship on the high seas was suspected to be carrying narcotic drugs. It, therefore, intercepted the vessel with the assistance of the Ghana Navy. When officials of the NACOB conducted a search on the vessel they discovered a leather bag containing 30 slabs of a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine. This was seized and taken to the Headquarters for safekeeping.

But Intelligence information had it that there were about 78 parcels in the vessel originally with each parcel containing 30 kilograms of cocaine.

It, therefore, suggests that 77 parcels of cocaine each weighing 30 kilograms were taken out of the vessel just before it was intercepted. The Committee is, therefore, among other things, to find out the person or persons, who brought the parcels on board the vessel and determine the actual numbers of narcotic drug parcels on the vessel immediately before it was intercepted.

It would determine whether some of the parcels on board the vessel were removed from it before it was intercepted, and, if so, to establish when and how this happened and recommend appropriate punishment. The Committee is also to determine the whereabouts of the parcels of narcotic drugs, if any, which were removed from the vessel and investigate any other issues relating to the loss of the narcotic drug and make recommendations on how to avoid them in the future.

In addition, the Committee is investigating the various allegations levelled against some Police Officers with respect to the seizure of a quantity of narcotics dugs in East Legon and would advise on appropriate actions against any persons or persons found culpable.

At the centre of the allegations is Ms Grace Asibi, a 23-year-old woman described to be the girlfriend of Vasquez Geraldo Duarte David, the prime suspect of the East Legon haul, who is currently on the run.

Source: GNA
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