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General News of Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Source: The Enquirer

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When a sitting Member of Parliament, Eric Amoateng, and Nii Okai Adjei, his pal, were arrested in the United States of America with 136 pounds of heroin stashed in ceramics, simultaneous investigations initiated by Ghana’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) to identify Ghanaian accomplices, which led to the questioning of a sitting Minister of State, was brought to a screeching halt by President John Agyekum Kufuor.

According to the Enquirer’s trail, Narcotics Control Board’s terms of reference were not just to identify accomplices in Ghana, but also locate the source of the drug, how it got to the USA, identify security lapses and identify property for seizure and confiscation.

Following the investigation, NACOB submitted a nine-page report, detailing how the heroin was purchased, from whom it was purchased, how the drugs were packaged and how it was transported to the USA.

“So far, three residential properties have been identified to be belonging to Nii Okai Adjei. They are located in Teshie Nungua catchment area. Efforts are being made to travel to Nkoranza to conduct assets investigation on Eric Amoateng. After the identification and location, Narcotic Control Board intends to pursue the assets for confiscation in accordance with PNDC Law 236,” the report revealed.

Follow-up investigation by NACOB on possible accomplices in Ghana led them to question a sitting minister of the current government, regarding his association with a certain George Owusu, a name which kept coming up in their investigations and which had direct dealings with Eric Amoateng in the drug trade and the minister.

It emerged that NACOB picked up intelligence that a George Owusu man has also been shipping ceramics from the US to a foundation established by the minister and apparently suspected that the exportation of the ceramics back to Ghana was a conduit for laundering drug money from the USA, using the minister’s foundation.

Just around the time the minister was interrogated by NACOB, National Security and the President got involved and that was when the story turned towards a completely different direction.

Out of the blue, the President announced that the minister, who was officially under Narcotic Board investigations, had been appointed as the Minister of Interior. Narcotic Control Board is under the Ministry of Interior.

The investigations were therefore abandoned, and the government has since then ended the journey to continue the investigations and confiscate the property of both Eric Amoateng and Niii AOkai Adjei.

Not long after the President’s sensational appointment, the ministry announced that cocaine in the custody of Narcotic Control Board was missing. The casualties of the missing cocaine incidentally were the officers involved in the probe against the Minister.

According to NACOB investigations, all the drugs which Eric Amoateng and his partner smuggled to America were all procured from the Ghanaian market with the assistance of a Nigerian resident in Dansoman called JOE. Backtracing investigation is ongoing to identify and locate him.”

NACOB continued that during their investigations, it came to light that there existed so many security lapses at the export village which made the illegal transaction possible.

According to the report, Amoateng came on the radar of NACOB in 1999 and that he is a regular exporter of ceramics and handicrafts. His previous shipments were in 2003 and 2004.

According to the NACOB report, Amoateng uses a man called George Owusu for his exports and uses Nii Okai Adjei as his front man in his drug trade.

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