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Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

Prosecution challenges defence on newspaper publication in cocaine case

Accra, Feb. 27, GNA- Prosecution in the case involving 60 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in cans labelled Ghana Fresh palm nut which was intercepted at the Aviance Cargo Village in October last year on Wednesday objected to Defence line of cross examination relating to a newspaper publication.

Mr Attah Akyea, who represented Emmanuel Kweku Darkey, a 50-year old Ghanaian based in the United Kingdom, was cross examining Detective Sergeant Joseph Akwei, the sixth prosecution witness on October 13, 2007 edition of the Daily Graphic. Prosecuting William Kpobi, a Principal State Attorney, contended that Detective Sergeant Akwei was not the author of the publication and therefore could not be crossed examined on the publication. This, the court presided over Mr Justice K.A Acquaye upheld saying, the position of the court would not depend on the publication of the Daily Graphic.

Answering questions under cross-examination, Detective Sergeant Akwei agreed that Darkey was not arrested at Aviance Cargo Village. According to the witness, Darkey was arrested at a filling station at Madina and he (accused) came voluntarily and was arrested Witness agreed that the goods, which were to be exported, were left under a tree unattended.

He admitted one could not export goods without documentation, adding that, documentation on exports was done at AFGO before they were exported.

Witness told the court that he investigated the background of the accused in relation to his business but not his character. According to him, in the course of his investigations he found that accused owned a company in the United Kingdom, which exported vegetables.

The detective agreed with Defence that when the accused was arrested and his house was searched no drugs were found. Witness maintained that the substances were sealed in the presence of the accused before they were sent to the Ghana Standard Board for analytical examination.

He said Darkey told him that the goods belonged to one Michael Osei, who they were unable to trace. Witness said Darkey gave out Osei's telephone number to security personnel, but when he was contacted he hanged up on them. Detective Sergeant Akwei said a search at the offices of TIGO indicated that Osei's number was not registered hence he could not be traced.

Security personnel arrested Darkey when he allegedly attempted to export the 60 tins of cocaine with street value of about three million dollars to the United Kingdom. Darkey has pleaded not guilty and has been in prison custody to reappear on February 22.

In October last year, security personnel suspected the movement of boxes containing vegetables and arrested Kirk Patrick Bekoe, the freight forwarder, now a prosecution witness, who in turn led them to arrest Darkey.

Darkey during interrogation, claimed he came to Ghana to purchase vegetables, adding that, the consignment were allegedly given to him by one Michael Osei to add to his, although he did not know the content. A field test proved the substance positive to cocaine. Hearing continues on March 5.

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