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General News of Thursday, 31 January 2008

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

Cocaine Gone Missing At CID Headquarters

... Tension Mounts
Tension is mounting among police investigative officers at the Narcotics section of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), of the Police Headquarters in Accra, over the strange disappearance of part of the 67 cartons of cocaine, which was seized at the Prampram beach on May 21, 2006.

Sources have told The Chronicle that some police officers at the Narcotics section are ganging up against one Mr. Adu Amankwah, who happens to be the head of the section, over his intentions to conduct a fresh test on the 67 cartons of cocaine, which have already been proven by the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), to ensure whether the substances are really cocaine.

Apart from that, Adu Amankwah has also declared his intention to call for a re-standardization of the substances, after his outfit had paid the GSB to conduct the same test.

The police on May 21, 2006 arrested one Nigerian drug lord, Ben Huga, with the 67 cartons of cocaine at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, but he was later granted bail in the sum of ¢300 million.

Under strange circumstances Huga absconded from the country, the very day he was granted bail, to the amazement of the policemen who busted him.

The suspect was said to have been granted questionable bail, by an Accra court, due to the inability of the Attorney General's Department to defend the case.

Meanwhile, police investigators at the narcotics section of the CID headquarters, are wondering about the sudden decision to conduct a fresh test and standardization, after the substances had already been proven by the Standards Board as being positive.

Information reaching the paper indicates that Mr. Amankwah's decision to conduct fresh investigations stems from the fact that the substances seem to have been tampered with.

He is, therefore, reported to have taken the decision to safeguard his image, since he assumed that office not too long ago.

The source further indicated that the aggrieved officers did not understand why the suspect, Huga, was granted bail, knowing very well that suspects involved in drug cases, under the law are not legible for bail, citing the case of Tagor and Abbas, who were not granted bail until their cases were determined by the court.

It would be recalled that two years ago, after the seizure of the 67 cartons, The Chronicle reported about how the police were 20 hours late to confiscate a larger quantity of cocaine, beside the 67 large cartons intercepted by the Tema Police on May 21 at the Prampram beach. The paper reported that when the police finally identified the Adjirigaano residence of the suspect, in the Prampram cocaine case, his accomplices had evacuated some quantity of narcotics hidden in two cellars, with entrances/exists beneath two free-standing wardrobes.

The arrested suspect had apparently communicated via mobile phone with his accomplices, to inform them of his arrest, and advised them to move out the rest, which had been hidden underground.

The police, however, confiscated a 207 Benz bus parked in the compound of the house, while they collected some substances, suspected to be cocaine, from the ground and sent it to a forensic laboratory.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Interior has issued a statement, signed by the Minister Hon. Kwamena Bartels, indicating that a high-powered panel had been set up, by the Interior Ministry, to investigate the disappearance of narcotic drugs from police custody, which include the Prampram cocaine.

According to the Interior Minister, following recent changes in the leadership of the CID administration, a routine audit was started on narcotics exhibits kept at the CID Headquarters.

It noted, "In the course of this exercise, it has been discovered by the police that some of the narcotic substances, in the custody of the police in their narcotics store, had been compromised and substituted with other substances."

It further noted that the officer-in-charge of narcotics at the Police CID has been arrested, following reports by the Ministry.

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