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General News Tue, 8 Jul 2008

Judgement on MV Benjamin case not ready

Accra, July 8, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court which was to deliver its verdict on five persons, including the owner of MV Benjamin vessel, which was allegedly used in carting 77 parcels of cocaine, on Tuesday adjourned the case to July 23.

Though the court did not sit, sources close to it said the judgement was not ready.

Joseph Kojo Dawson is the vessel owner while the crew include Isaac Arhin, a 49-year-old sailor, Philip Kobina Bruce Arhin, a 47 year-old-mechanic, Cui Xing Li, a 44-year old Chinese sailor and Luo Yin Xing, a 49-year-old sailor.

Isaac Arhin, Philip Arhin, Cui and Luo are charged for possessing narcotic drugs without authority and engaging in prohibited business. Dawson, who is also the Managing Director of Dashment Company Limited, who is being held for using his property for narcotic offence and Pak are facing the charge of engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics.

They all pleaded not guilty and have since November 2006 been remanded into prison custody.

The court on October 16, 2007 acquitted and discharged Pak Bok Sil, a 46 year-old Korean Engineer because the prosecution failed to make a case him.

However, the court, presided over Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, a Supreme Court judge, asked the five other accused persons to open their defence after the prosecution had called 13 witnesses to make a case against them.

The two-year old trial would be the last in a series of the cases in the MV Benjamin saga which has already dragged five persons to jail, including Kwabena Amaning, aka Tagor, Alhaji Issa Abbas and three policemen.

According to the prosecution, on February 6, 2006 Dawson, who is also a businessman, indirectly without lawful authority and with the intention of facilitating an enterprise relating to narcotic drugs, did allow one Asem Dake, a.k.a. Sheriff, to use his vessel (MV Benjamin/MV AdedeII) to import 77 parcels each containing 30 kilograms of cocaine into the country without a licence issued by the Ministry of Health. Pak is also said to have repaired the vessel to facilitate the transportation of the 77 parcels of cocaine from Takoradi to Tema.

Isaac, Philip, Cui and Luo on April 27, 2006, who were on board the MV Benjamin vessel, allegedly had in their possession one parcel containing 30 slabs of cocaine each weighing about one kilogram.

Source: GNA