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General News Fri, 22 May 2009

Six cocaine suspects before Fast Track Court

Accra, May 22, GNA - Six persons assisting the security personnel in the 71.45 kilogram's of substances believed to be cocaine seized at the Tema Port last Tuesday, have been put before an Accra Fast Track High Court.

Augustine Abu, importer, Yaw Attah Nkansah, Alfred Amedzi, Kennedy Osei, Simon Fafa Bedy all clearing agents and Francis Abbey, driver have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime to the importation of narcotic drugs.

The Court, presided over by Mrs. Justice Irismay Brown did not take their pleas but admitted them to bail in the following conditions. The six were to submit their passports to the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and submit title deeds owned by either themselves, or their close relatives or friends.

While the said documents were to be verified by the NACOB, two of their close relatives were to serve as guarantors. In addition, the accused persons were to report to NACOB on daily basis.

The case was adjourned to May 26.

Mr. Paul Abarigah a State Attorney told the court that the substances were yet be established as cocaine, adding that, they had been forwarded to the Ghana Standard Board (GSB) Mr. Abarigah drew the court's attention to the fact that the court could not grant bail in narcotic cases.

According to the State Attorney, if the accused were granted bail they could interfere with investigation as well as witnesses, especially when the case was still under investigations. In the case of the defence counsel, they contended that their client would not interfere with investigations. According to them, accused persons, who are citizens of Ghana, are also bread winners of their families and their incarceration would bring an untold hardship on them.

They further contended that their clients were not arrested by the Police rather they voluntarily submitted themselves. Based on that, the court ruled that because prosecution had stated that the substances were yet to be established as cocaine it could not rely on the law that prohibits the court from granting bail. On Tuesday May 19, this year, security personnel intercepted a 40 foot container with 61 parcels of substances believed to be cocaine at the Tema Port.

The parcels were said to have been concealed in a cargo which had been declared as chewing gum from Ecuador in South America. The container, consigned to Augustina Abu of Abu Augustina Enterprise, was intercepted after it had gone through the scan at the port.

Source: GNA