Public officials allegedly involved in cocoa smuggling before court

Fourteen public officials who were re-arrested for their alleged involvement in smuggling of cocoa on the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire border appeared before an Accra Circuit Court on Tuesday.

They have been freshly charged with conspiracy and attempt to commit crime to wit unlawful exportation of cocoa.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty and admitted to GHc20, 000 bail each with two sureties to re-appear on September 7.

The court granted them bail after their counsels had prayed the court for bail saying the facts presented by the prosecution were in contrast to the instructions given to them by their clients.

The officials are Gabriel Dimado, Collection Assistant I, William Festus Yawson, Collection Assistant II, Quaye Sowah Steven, Junior Collection Assistant II, and Prosper Edze, Junior Collection Assistant II.

The rest are Adolf Nii Armah, Junior Collection Assistant III, James Dzamesi, Junior Collection Assistant III, Rockson Eric Appeadu, Assistant Grade III and Paul Dzamesi, Assistant Collection III.

Constable Isaac Kwaku Asare Darko and Constable Samuel Kwasi Ekpeagba are operatives from the National Security.

The other officers are Michael Mate Korle, Assistant Immigration Officer Grade II, Frederick Kofiabley, Assistant Immigration Officer Grade II, Kofi Aboagye Assistant Immigration Officer Grade II and a Police Constable J.K. Appiah Boakye.

Prosecuting, Mr Rexford Anthony Wiredu, Principal State Attorney, said it would lead evidence to show that the accused persons made no reference to the station diary.

He said in December 2009, an investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, on receipt of information from Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) he and his team went to the western frontier of the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire border with undercover gadgets to capture security personnel who were allegedly facilitating the smuggling of cocoa and fertilizers to Cote d’Ivoire.

The investigative team proceeded to Elubo, Ellanda Warf, Omanpe, Sefwi Wiawso, Debiso, Kwame Nkrumah and secretly recorded activities of the accused persons.

He said they received monetary consideration to assist people smuggle dried cocoa beans from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire.

Mr Wiredu said the journalists conducted an initial investigation into the information and referred it to the Ghana Police Service for further investigations.

Source: GNA

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