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General News Mon, 12 Sep 2011

WikiLeaks: Kofi Boakye Holds Cocaine Dossier

A former US Ambassador to Ghana has confirmed a long-held suspicion that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye was not prosecuted by the Kufuor administration despite making self-incriminating comments in a “recorded conversation which implicate him in cocaine trafficking,” he had a lot to expose.

He should have been tried alongside Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, and Alhaji Issah Abass.

According to Ambassador Pamela E. Bridgewater, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Joe Ghartey, could not put the former Director General of Police Operations on trial for narcotics offences because Mr. Boakye had a lot of information which could expose other individuals in the illegal cocaine trade.

Ambassador Bridgewater stated in a leaked confidential document to the United States that “it is unclear why Boakye was not charged, but some contacts have suggested that Boakye may have some incriminating information on other individuals, causing the Attorney-General (Joe Ghartey) not to prosecute him.”

The secret memo filed to Washington in 2007, is part of the leaked diplomatic cables published by whistleblower Wikileaks.

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Ms. Bridgewater, who had a rather friendly relationship with Mr. John A. Kufuor, when he served as Ghana’s President, emphatically told Washington that “until the GOG has the stomach to fully prosecute and investigate allegations against all officials and individuals involved in the drug trade, it will be unable to mount a serious offensive against the drug barons.”

This revelation comes at a time when the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), on the orders President John Mills, has made significant inroads into the MV Benjamin Cocaine saga as well as disappearance of the huge volumes of cocaine from the Police Headquarters under the nose of ex-IGP Patrick Acheampong, according to signals picked by The Herald at NACOB.

The US ambassador’s secret document said after a year-long trial, an Accra court, on November 28, 2007, sentenced both Tagor and Abass to 15 years in hard labour in connection with the 2005 cocaine scandal involving the MV Benjamin Vessel. As reported in ref A, the 2005 cocaine scandal kicked off when five kilogrammes of cocaine went missing from the Narcotics Control Board evidence room.

Tagor and Abass were freed by an Accra Court on appeal in 2009. The three-member panel held that the recorded conversation on the missing cocaine could not be strong evidence to secure conviction.

Investigations into the Cocaine scandal showed later determined that 77 parcels of cocaine were brought into the country on MV Benjamin, and the Government of Ghana (GOG), despite being given intelligence reports about the cocaine shipment beforehand, was unable to seize the ship until after 76 parcels were off loaded and disappeared.

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When law enforcement personnel boarded MV Benjamin, they found that only one parcel of cocaine remained on board. The ship then mysteriously caught fire a few days later while at the Tema port. As a result of public outcry, the GOG launched a Commission of Inquiry led by Chief Justice Georgina Wood to investigate the scandal and make recommendations.

The Commission recommended, among other things, the arrest of 13 individuals, including Tagor, Abass, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye, five other police officers and three members of the ship’s crew.

The charges against Abass and Tagor stemmed from a conversation at ACP Boakye’s house, recorded by Tagor, in which Abass, Tagor, ACP Boakye, and others held a meeting to discuss why they were not aware of this cocaine shipment.

The tape, when released, initiated a storm of controversy and implicated Abass, Tagor, Boakye and two others in the missing cocaine scandal. Everyone heard on the tape was charged, except for ACP Boakye.

The trial judge, Justice Dotse, in the case, said during sentencing of Tagor and Abass that Boakye had “self-confessed” to his role in the crime on the tape and expressed his displeasure at Attorney General Joe Ghartey’s decision not to prosecute him (ACP). The judge went on to say that it was “not too late to prosecute Kofi Boakye” for narcotics offenses.

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In Ms Bridgewter’s view, “this case shocked Ghana when it broke and highlighted the increasing flow of narcotics transiting Ghana. It appeared to awaken the GOG to the drug problem, which dutifully created a commission to investigate and make recommendations. However, as septel will report, the vast majority of the recommendations were never implemented”.

“The press covered the scandals and trials consistently and reported nearly every development in the long trial. The convictions of Tagor and Abass are welcome and came just days after two Venezuelans were convicted for their role in the East Legon cocaine case, another case the media covered extensively.

The GOG has taken some positive steps lately in the battle against narcotics; however the failure to prosecute ACP Kofi Boakye is glaring, given incriminating statements he made during the recorded conversation which implicate him in cocaine trafficking.

It is unclear why Boakye was not charged, but some contacts have suggested that Boakye may have some incriminating information on other individuals, causing the Attorney General to not prosecute him,” she added.

Source: The Herald
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