Government to re-open investigations into missing cocaine in Police vault, MV Benjamin

President John Atta Mills

The Ghana government says it will re-open investigations into the cases of seized cocaine in the possession of the Ghana Police that went missing at its headquarters, and 77 parcels seized from a ship MV Benjamin.

President John Atta Mills who gave the indication in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament Thursday morning said his government has acquitted itself well in the war on drugs in the two years of his administration. The President said he has subjected himself to body checks at the Kotoka Airport to energise officials of the Narcotics Board (NACOB) to do their work.

The President said it is necessary to open investigations into these matters because Ghana has been cited as a transit point in the drugs trade.

Meanwhile a WikiLeaks publication of US cables in December 2010 say Ghanaian officials including some close to the presidency know who the drug barons in the country are, but choose not to arrest them. Instead they arrest only small couriers.

According to the cables written on Friday December 21, 2007, Ghana is becoming a significant transshipment point for cocaine from South America and heroin from South East Asia.

The cable says “The Government of Ghana does not have a handle on the issue and lacks an overarching strategy to deal with the problem.”

According to the cables Ghana focuses more on prevention rather than investigations of drugs trafficking.

The government was also accused of failing to implement the recommendations of the Georgina Wood Report in 2006.

The Georgina Wood Committee was set up on July 4, 2006 to investigate the disappearance from a shipping vessel, MV Benjamin of 77 packets of cocaine on April 26, 2006.

It was also mandated to investigate an alleged $200,000 bribe paid to senior police officers by a lady linked to a
Venezuelan drug baron, as well as the 588 kg of cocaine seized at Mempeasem, East Legon in Accra from the Venezuelans.

The government was accused of not providing the resources necessary to address the problem of drugs trafficking, even though it has been credited with public education on the dangers of narcotics use.

The government of Ghana the cables say “does not appear to have the political will to go after the major drug barons.”

A portion of the cable reads: “For example, Government of Ghana (GOG) contacts in both the police Service and the President’s office have said they know the identities of the major barons, but they have not said why they have not chosen to arrest them. A Police Service contact told us the GOG does not have the political will to go after the barons.

This official and other others close to the President have also told us that they cannot trust anyone when it comes to narcotics.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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