No bail for alleged drug barons


Thu, 24 Aug 2006 Source: GNA

Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - Five persons including Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, Alhaji Abass Issah, Kwabena Acheampong and Kwadwo Ababio arrested soon after testifying before Justice Georgina Wood Committee were on Thursday refused bail by an Accra Circuit Court at its third sitting.

The other person, who appeared together with them, was Victor Kisseh alias Yaw Billa.

The court declared that the bail application was premature. The accused persons are being tried for conspiring; importing of narcotic drugs without licence; engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs; importing 78 parcels of narcotic drugs and establishing and promoting businesses related to narcotic drugs. Their pleas were not taken and were remanded into Police custody.

On August 4, 2006 the Court fixed August 18 to rule on the bail application of some of the accused persons but the Court could not sit because judges were attending a seminar organised by the VAT Service. Ruling on the application on Thursday, the court said it was of the view that the applications for bail were premature. It adjourned the matter to September 7.

Before the Court's ruling, Nana Asante Bediatu, who represented Amaning, aka Tagor, put in bail application saying he was not informed about his client's appearance during the Court's last sitting. He said charges levelled against his client had not been properly laid. "My client's name was mentioned at the Committee sitting and he was picked up."

According to him the National Security had told the Georgina Wood Committee that some unidentified men had taken away the substances. He asked the Court to grant Tagor bail saying, his whereabouts were known to the Police and the Court could offer reasonable restrictions on his client.

Mr C.S Buabeng, who represented Issah, drew the Court's attention to the fact that his client was initially arrested and granted bail by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

He said his client had not been treated fairly and should be granted bail since "the basis of this case is built on suspicion". Mr Kojo Graham, who represented Acheampong, told the Court that the Prosecution had not indicated to the Court that if his client were granted bail he would interfere with investigations.

"My Lord, please don't look at the journalistic acrobatics given to the case. Admit my client to bail, he will not run away.=94 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Abicham Boye said the Police had made headway in investigations but would still need the accused in custody to assist.

He, therefore, prayed the Court to remand the accused persons to enable the Police to conduct further investigations into the matter. The case of the Prosecution is that in April 2006 78 parcels of cocaine each weighing 30 kilograms was imported into the country on MV Benjamin, a vessel that docked at the Tema Harbour.

The Police had information about it and proceeded to the scene but discovered only one parcel in the vessel. 24 Aug. 06

Source: GNA
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