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General News of Sunday, 20 May 2012

Source: Daily Guide Network

Free Tehoda, lawyer tells court

E.A. Vordoagu, counsel for DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, the police officer standing trial for allegedly playing a key role in the cocaine-turned-soda case, yesterday told an Accra Circuit that his client had been denigrated as a result of the trial.

Appearing before a new Circuit Court Judge, Francis Obiri, counsel for Tehoda, who did not explain any further on how his client had been denigrated, also stated that the state “had exhausted a catalogue of reasons as to why the case had been adjourned 11 times” at their instance.

He said he therefore wanted to bring an application for Tehoda to be discharged and acquitted because if the state had any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the DSP, then the time to present it was now.

According to him, since it was the judge’s first time of presiding over the case, he would pray for an adjournment of the case for two weeks.

The principal state attorney in the case, Rexford Wiredu, was not in court so the judge told a state attorney to inform him that after five adjournments without hearing from them, he would acquit and discharge the accused person.

He subsequently had the case adjourned to June 5, 2012.

At the last appearance, Mr. Vordoago prayed the court to discharge his client because the prosecution was not ready to commence the case.

This was after Rexford Wiredu, the state attorney, had prayed the court presided over by Audrey Kocuvie-Tay for more time to enable him to bring his witnesses for hearing to begin.

Mr. Wiredu, who had reported sick for some time, informed the court when the case was called that he was not ready to start because his witnesses would be ready by April 20.

Counsel for the accused person then submitted that his client should be discharged because the prosecution had no case against her.

Mr. Wiredu informed the court that the BNI began investigations into the soda-cocaine following a directive by the Vice President for investigations into how the 1,020 grammes of cocaine turned into baking soda.

The investigations, according to the prosecutor, revealed that DSP Tehoda, Deputy Head of the Commercial Crime Unit at the CID headquarters, knew about the swapping of the substance and also knew Nana Ama.

Mr Wiredu said the police officer arranged for a lawyer for the cocaine suspect and allegedly met with Nana Ama Martins, a dozen times while she was in custody and also after her subsequent release when the stuff changed to baking soda.

Explaining further Mr. Wiredu said he would lead evidence to show that one Mr. Yankah and Serwah Gyaabah, an uncle and sister of Ama Martins respectively, told a witness in the case that with the help of DSP Tehoda they had been able to turn the cocaine into soda after the trial judge refused to take GH¢5,000 they had wanted to bribe him with.

The witness allegedly explained that the relatives wanted to give the judge and one Lawal, the court clerk, GH¢4,000 andGH¢1,000 respectively.

This allegation, according to the prosecutor, was confirmed by one Beatrice Naab, a family member of Ama Martins who asked the witness to keep her mouth shut and not tell anyone the role played by DSP Mawuenyega and others involved.

Mr. Wiredu said DSP Tehoda told Nana Ama Martins’ lawyer that they had managed to swap the cocaine and that at the trial he should request for a re-test. This instruction was followed by the lawyer and true to her words, the cocaine had turned into soda.

He said the DSP jubilated in her office when she heard of Nana Ama Martins’ release.

“This enterprise of swapping of cocaine turning into soda was facilitated by accused and so she has been charged,” Mr. Wiredu stated.

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