Crime & Punishment of Friday, 22 June 2012

Source: GNA

Asem Darkey’s driver testifies in-camera

A driver of Christian Asem Darkey who allegedly imported 77 parcels of cocaine on board the MV Benjamin, on Friday testified in-camera at an Accra Fast Track High Court.

The fourth prosecution witness was invited by the prosecution, but his identity was not made public in order not to compromise his security.

The witness was jointly charged with the accused but his charges were dropped and now made a prosecution witness.

Darkey also known as Sherriff, a businessman, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, importation of narcotic drugs, possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority, undertaking prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, and corruption of public officer.

He was remanded into prison custody by the court presided over by Mr. Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, to re-appear on July 10.

On April 26, 2006, intelligence gathered by the security indicated that a shipping vessel, MV Benjamin, carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine was on the high seas heading towards the West African Coast, specifically Ghana.

Around midnight the same day, the vessel docked at Tema/Kpone and discharged the parcels, which were offloaded into a waiting vehicle and taken away.

Investigations led to the arrest of some people, who were tried and convicted.

During the trial, the name of the accused featured prominently as the importer and owner of the parcels.

Further investigations revealed that he chartered the vessel for $150,000 to bring another vessel carrying the narcotic drugs from Guinea, which were off-loaded onto MV Benjamin on the high seas, and the name of the vessel changed.

The accused allegedly carted the parcels from the vessel on its arrival at Kpone, and influenced some security personnel to prevent them from arresting him.

On Thursday, February 2, the accused was arrested at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital upon a tip-off.**