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NACOB official testifies in EXOPA boss’s cocaine trial

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Ibrahim Sima

A narcotics control officer on Tuesday said Sima Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer of Exopa Modelling Agency, who is being tried for drug-related offences allegedly told him about the mission.

He said the decision of the accused person to export drugs was because he was hard pressed for money and swimming in debts.

Mr. Anthony Smith of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) was giving evidence at the Fast Track High Court when he mounted the witness box to testify in respect of the case of Sima who is being tried for allegedly transporting five kilogrammes of cocaine.

Led in evidence by Mr George Kwadwo Ofori, a State Attorney, Mr Smith who was stationed at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) said on September 7, 2009, the board decided to conduct robust checks on frequent travellers.

According to him, on that day Sima was among the travellers who had checked in to fly out of the country.

Mr Smith, the first prosecution witness, told the court that on that day at about 2040 hours, his men spotted Sima at the departure hall of the KIA and stopped him.

The witness said Sima was referred to him (Mr Smith).

During his interaction with Sima, he got to know that he (Sima) packed his belongings.

According to the witness, Sima identified his bag and he unlocked it before him and seven other officers in a room at the KIA.

“This was videotaped and snaps were taken in the presence of the officers and the accused person,” witness said.

When the bag was opened, witness said, four tubers of yam, suits and personal effects of the accused were found in it.

Witness testified that he found out that the four tubers of yam were in the bag and they were neatly wrapped in a transparent polythene bag.

However, Mr Smith said there was “something strange” about the tubers of yam hence he (Mr Smith) cut the head of the three tubers and found white polythene bags hidden in them. He then scooped it out.

Witness said he also cut the fourth yam and found out that it contained a blue polythene bag with whitish substances.

Mr Smith said he conducted a field test on all the substances and they tested positive for cocaine.

The witness said Sima told him that he took the substances from one Salifu who lived in Nima.

Later, the witness said, Sima led him and other officers to his residence at Community 10, Tema, where a search was conducted.

“In his house we went to his kitchen and found same variety of yam, glue and a knife,” witness told the court.

Mr Smith said those items were retrieved and handed over to a team of investigators.

Sima is facing charges of attempting to export narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drug without lawful excuse.

He allegedly concealed five kilogrammes of drugs suspected to be cocaine in tubers of yam while travelling abroad on September 7, 2009, and was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

On September 7, 2009, Sima arrived at the KIA to board a Lufthansa Airline flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

While going through departure formalities, officials of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) opened his luggage and found tubers of yam cut and joined.

The prosecution said Sima claimed ownership of the drug and said he was asked to give them to someone in Germany for a fee of $3,200.

The case has been adjourned to February 1.

Source: GNA

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