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General News of Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Source: GNA

"Coke Committee" report on Friday

Accra, Sept. 19, GNA -- The Georgina Wood Committee which investigated two high profile cocaine-related cases will present its report to the Ministry of the Interior on Friday, a statement signed by Mr G.P. Ansah, Acting Chief Director said.

The two scandals involved the suspected disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine from MV Benjamin and an alleged 200,000 dollars bribe paid to senior police officers by a 23-year-old woman, Ms. Grace Asibi. Ms. Asibi is the girlfriend of a Venezuelan drug fugitive Vasquez Geraldo Duarte David, who is at the centre of the seizure of some 588 kilos of cocaine from a house at East Legon in Accra.

The Committee was charged to determine the actual number of narcotic drug parcels on board the vessel immediately before it was intercepted and whether some of the parcels on board the vessel were removed before it was intercepted. The Committee was to establish when and how the removal happened and recommend the appropriate punishment. The Committee was also to investigate any other issues relating to the loss of narcotics drugs and make recommendations on how to avoid recurrence.

The Committee had the additional mandate of investigating the various allegations levelled against some Police officers with respect to the seizure of a quantity of narcotic drugs at East Legon and to advise on appropriate actions against any person or persons found culpable.

The Ministry of the Interior last Tuesday granted one week extension of time to the Committee to enable it to complete its work. The Committee wrapped up its public sittings early this month. About 30 people appeared before the Committee, which started its public hearing on July 25, 2006 with Ms Asibi, the prime witness in the East Legon drug seizure case, and Superintendent Edward Tabiri, Former Head of the Rapid Response Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Some of the key persons, who appeared before the Committee in relation to the East Legon case included the Director-General of (CID), Mr David Asante Apeatu and his deputy Mr Patrick Ampewuah. In their evidence, they denied any act of bribery by Ms Asibi. Mr Ampewuah also denied a claim by Ms Asibi that he threatened her life in a phone call.

Other witnesses in that case were Mrs Gina Blay, Managing Editor of the 93Daily Guide=94 newspaper; Mrs Rosa Iris Dosoo, Secretary/Translator of Vasquez and Mr Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo, who is also called Rojo.

In the case of the MV Benjamin, the issue which took centre stage was a recording of a conversation relating to the disappearance of the cocaine from the ship at a meeting between some alleged drug dealers in the house of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye. The key witnesses in that tape recording, which came to be known as the "Kofi Boakye Tape", were arrested when they came to testify before the Committee.

The witnesses included Alhaji Issah Abass, Kwabena Amaning also called Tagor and Kwabena Acheampong.

Other witnesses who testified before the Committee in that case included Colonel Isaac Kwesi Akuoko, Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB); Mr Ben Ndego, Director of Operations of NACOB and Mr Kofi Bentum Quanson, a Former National Security Co-ordinator and the First Executive Secretary of NACOB.

Mr Patrick Kwateng Acheampong, Inspector General of Police, Mr Francis Poku, Minister of National Security and Mr Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, Executive Director of the Food and Drugs Board and some security personnel from the Ghana Navy and Ghana Air Force also testified before the Committee.

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