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General News of Saturday, 2 February 2008

Source: The Chronicle

Missing Cocaine: Apeatu’s name crops up

As the Police and the Ministry of the Interior try to uncover the mystery behind the missing cocaine at the Narcotic Exhibits room at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), one important name that has cropped up, is that of the former Director of CID, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu.

The Chronicle gathered that Mr. Asante-Apeatu may have to either come from his France base, where he is currently the Director of the Specialized Crime & Analysis of INTERPOL or in writing, to explain his knowledge about how the cocaine was substituted with other substances. The Chronicle investigations have revealed that the drugs were substituted during the time he was leaving office to assume his appointment in France. The apparent theft was discovered, when an audit was conducted on the drugs, after he handed over to his successor, ACP Frank Adu-Poku.

Police officials have debunked claims that he knows the whereabouts of the drugs. He might, however, appear before the 5-member committee constituted by the Minister of the Interior to investigate the circumstances surrounding the breach of the security of the narcotics storeroom, at the time he was the head of the CID. Speaking to The Chronicle, in an interview, the current Director of CID, ACP Adu-Poku insisted that it might not be necessary to invite Mr. Asante-Apeatu, unless in the course of investigations it becomes necessary.

“To be a Director-General here does not mean you will know everything. If the committee finds out and there is evidence that he knows who might have tampered with it that is another matter, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he argued. Adu-Poku also told The Chronicle that he decided to conduct a forensic audit, because he wanted to know what items were going to be in his custody. According to him his predecessor did not mention any narcotics in his handing over notes.

“As a new man, I thought if I am taking over I should know what is there, so I wrote to the Ghana Standards Board, and on the 3rd of January they came to do sampling checks on all the drugs in the narcotic room,” he stressed, but was emphatic that the substances did not get missing at the time that he assumed office. He intimated that in the course of the sampling, it was revealed that one of the cocaine parcels had been tampered with as a result the man who was in-charge of the room was arrested. He said the puzzle was how the drugs went missing, because there was a 24-hour guard on the room and also indicated that it would be the responsibility of the committee to find out the quantity that had been tampered with. He clarified that the audit he conducted had not brought about any tension in the area, but rather it had put them on their toes. This kind of audit had been done before, so it cannot bring tension in the CID.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Kojo Armah told The Chronicle that the committee would start sitting from today at 9:00am. He noted that after today’s sitting, it would then strategize on how to go about their investigations and the witnesses that would be invited to testify before them.

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