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Crime & Punishment Tue, 24 Jul 2007

I have been let down by the Police and NACOB - Abass

Accra, July 24, GNA - Alhaji Issah Abass, who is being held with Kwabena Amaning, aka Tagor, for narcotic offences on Tuesday expressed his disappointment over the conduct of the Police and Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) after agreeing to their requests to help unravel the mystery surrounding the missing 76 cocaine on board MV Benjamin. Abass, 59, Chief Executive Officer of Gazimbex Ghana Limited and Issadies Company, both in Tema, said: "Mr Lord I feel I have been let down by the Police and NACOB. I thought I was helping mother Ghana but here I am in custody."

Wiping his face with his handkerchief Abass said: "I am now being called names such as (drug) baron among others."


Abass said thse when Mr Mohammed Attah, one of his counsel, led him in evidence at an Accra Fast Track High Court in Accra. Alhaji Abass and Tagor, 34, alleged self-confessed drug barons, are jointly charged for conspiracy and are being tried for drug-related offences.


Abass is also being held for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs while Tagor has additionally been charged for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, buying and supplying of narcotic drugs. They have pleaded not guilty and the court has remanded them in prison custody.


Narrating how he recorded the Kofi Boakye tape, Abass told the court that on the day in question he placed the recorder under his belt. "When I got there, I met Tagor and Kwabena Acheampong already seated together with some bodyguards at the meeting place," he said. Abass said while the meeting was in progress he went out ostensibly to urinate but he actually wanted to find out whether or not the micro cassette was recording.


The accused said as soon as the meeting was over he played the tape and handed it over to the NACOB office and requested for a copy of the transcript.


When asked who he specifically handed over the tape to at NACOB, Abass said when he went to the office of Mr Ben Ndego, former Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) who in turn took him to Colonel Issac Akuoku his boss's office.

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Abass said Colonel Akuoku after listening to some portions of the tape, thanked him for good work done.


"Ndego in the company of one Lassey gave my driver Mohammed Salifu a copy of the transcript which I later showed to my lawyers." Abass said when ACP Kofi Boakye returned from the Soccer World Cup tournament in Germany, he quizzed him (Abbas) about the recorded tape and he denied ever recording the conversation.


The accused alleged that he reported to the police threats he received on telephone suggesting that he and Inspector-General of Police were trying to destroy ACP Boakye.


Abbas said he did not tell the Georgina Wood Committee that he was the one who recorded the conversation at ACP Kofi Boakye's house because, "we were asked to keep our lips tight".


He said when he asked what kind of support NACOB was going to offer them when they appeared before the Georgina Wood Committee, he said Mr Ndego assured him that they would be taken care of.


When the accused was asked what kind of assistance he offered the police, he said after his arrest by the Police, he was taken to his office in Tema where they saw a vehicle belonging to the Police.

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Explaining how the Police vehicle got there, he told the court that the Police was not paying for some services his company was offering them hence when the vehicle was brought for repairs he impounded it.


Abass said while at his office with the policemen, including Detective Inspector Justice Nana Oppong, Sergeant Asante and Sergeant Mahama, he called two persons - Nana Yaw and one Konu - who were well versed with activities at the Tema Harbour to assist them (the Police) with information.


He said he did this for the Police because they had asked for his assistance. He said he gave Nana Yaw and Konu two million cedis to obtain the information.


Abass said for the good job done by Nana Yaw and Konu, the police gave them two mobile phones and later promised them 40 million cedis. The accused said two days later, Nana Yaw and Konu visited him at the Cantonment Police Station and informed him that they knew the whereabouts of "Killer" and Sheriff Asem Dake aka "Limping man," who reports indicated were behind the importation of the cocaine. Abbas said according to the information provided by Nana Yaw and Konu, Asem Dake was attending a funeral at Ada.


This information, Abass said, was relayed to the Police at Cantonment.


Abass alleged that the Police followed up to Ada and met Asem Dake at the funeral but they failed to arrest him and questioned why the Police discharged Asem Dake's driver and his wife as well as Killer's wife.

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" Nana Yaw and Konu showed the Police Asem Dake and the Police told them that they know how to strategise to arrest him but they did not, until Asem Dake boarded his four wheel drive and left only for the police to chase him to no avail," Abass said.


Answering questions under cross-examination by Ms. Gertrude Aikins, Abass denied that his evidence before the court was an afterthought. The accused said it was not true that he and Tagor had conducted drug business together.


"My Lord it is never true that I trained Tagor in any drug business."


When the prosecution suggested to him that the recorded conversation was not staged managed, Abass said that was the opinion of the voice forensic expert.


He debunked the prosecution's assertion that he and Tagor agreed to look for the missing 76 missing parcels of cocaine, adding all that was part of the baiting game.


"My Lord it is not true that we were going to spend money to retrieve cocaine on board MV Benjamin," Abass said. When the prosecution demanded to know what they meant by "goods and keys" Abass said they referred to drugs explaining that because ACP Boakye had made those references.

The case of the prosecution is that the accused are self-confessed drug barons who since 2004 had been actively engaged in activities of promoting and establishing various enterprises relating to narcotic drugs.


The case was adjourned to July 25, for further cross-examination of Abass.

Source: GNA
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