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General News of Monday, 11 July 2016


NACOB boss sued for contempt

Executive Secretary of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), Akrasi Sarpong, has been sued at an Accra high court (Criminal Division) for contempt.

The suit follows his comments over the grant of bail to one Chief Sunny Ikechukwu Benjy Eke, a 53-year-old businessman, and his alleged accomplice, James Eleke Chukwu, 47, a second-hand clothes dealer in Accra, in the sum of ?200,000, with three sureties each in an ongoing case before the court.

Chief Eke had been on remand at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons since 2013 for allegedly attempting to smuggle 281,604 grammes of liquid cocaine with a street value of over $12.5 million (GHC493, 750,00) into the country.

The drug was allegedly concealed in a 40-footer container filled with 1,946 boxes of shampoo import­ed from Bolivia in South America, to Ghana.

But Mr. Sarpong, unsat­isfied with the bail, is quot­ed as having said that the terms for the bail were very unfortunate because Chief Eke was known to have jumped bail in Brazil.

He alleged that all international drug agencies were hunting for him but could not arrest him until he was nabbed in Ghana.

He argued that the judge, in using his discretion as required by law, should have considered the past record of the suspect, which was public knowledge.

The NACOB boss said the fight against transnational organised crime is not for the security agencies alone but the whole justice delivery system in the country.

He warned that if the suspect escaped, nobody should blame NACOB because the board would use meagre state resources to monitor him (the suspect) as "he walks free on the streets of Accra, a situation which he could take advan­tage of to escape again."

He said while the Judi­ciary upheld the 1992 Con­stitution and the rule of law, there was the need to understand that the charac­ters involved in trans­national organised crime, such as Chief Eke, could undermine democracy, pro­mote impunity of the pri­vate sector against the pub­lic sector, engender corrup­tion both in the public and the private sectors, as well as give cause for the rise of fake and wrong role mod­els.

"For NACOB, the con­dition under which the accused was granted bail was not the best, judging from his past record of jumping bail. Besides, we are aware that the wheel of justice is a slow process, but no matter how slow it is, justice is more likely to prevail than injustice," Mr Akrasi Sarpong noted.

However, lawyers for the suspects - Augustines Obour and K.K. Amoah have urged the court to convict the NACOB boss for contempt.

In their affidavit in sup­port of the motion for con­tempt, the stated among other things that the comments made and published in the Daily Graphic edi­tion of June 20, 2016 were prejudicial and could affect justice delivery in the case.

It said it was necessary Mr. Sarpong is dragged before the court to purge himself of the charge.

Meanwhile, the court has set July 13 to move the application.

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