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State waiting for extradition of accused persons in cocaine trial

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Mr. Martin Amidu - Attorney General

The State on Wednesday said it was waiting for the processing of extradition on five people alleged to be trafficking in cocaine.

Mr Asiamah Sampong, Principal State Attorney, who announced this, explained that with the processing of extradition, the decision normally should come from the country where the accused persons would be tried.

He noted that the order of extradition was yet to come from the United Kingdom.

Mr Sampong, therefore, opposed to bail put in by the five accused persons, adding investigations into the matter was on-going.

He announced this when five accused persons, Kevin Sarpong-Boateng, a travel and tour operator, Eric Owusu Manu, a British Airways Manager at Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Daniel Klottey, an aircraft technician, Frank Bruno Kpakpo, a trader and Daniel Gyabaah, aka JB, a car dealer appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.

Two other accused persons, Stephen Awua Kofi Bamfo (aka Baffour Gyau) and Nana Yaw (aka Emmanuel Owusu), are in prison custody in the United Kingdom following their arrest at Heathrow Airport.

Meanwhile, two other accused persons, Hubert Laryea and Mohamoud Mufuti are at large.

The accused persons have been charged with conspiracy, two counts of abetment of crime, exportation of narcotic drugs, namely eight kilogrammes of cocaine and parcels of Indian hemp (Cannabis Sativa) to the UK.

When the matter was called, the team of defence counsels argued for bail for the second time.

They further denied the facts by prosecution stressing that they (Counsels) were ready for the trial and implored the court to fix a date for hearing.

According to them, before the court decided to give away freedom and liberty to any person; it must be convinced by evidence before it.

They contended that the facts before the court were only theories of prosecution and they denied that.

Counsels argued that prosecution had not been able to show that the accused persons were indeed connected to the charges stressing that the charges had no basis.

The court after listening to submissions of the defence and prosecution turned down the bail application put in by the accused persons who are to be extradited to the UK to stand trial.

The court presided over by Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour noted that there had not been an unreasonable delay in hearing the matter and adjourned the matter to August 31.

The accused persons were earlier put before the Osu District Magistrate Court over a drug-related offence but were admitted to bail.

Soon after that security officials rounded them up and put them before an Accra Circuit Court.

The facts as narrated by Mr Sampong are that the accused persons are all Ghanaians and members of an alleged illicit drug syndicate.

According to him, the accused persons also operated as narcotic drug exporters and pushers from Accra to the UK.

Mr Sampong said between November, 2010 and June 2011, the accused persons operated jointly and severally to send cocaine and cannabis from Ghana to the UK on British Airways using “a shared responsibility method known as pushing”.

He said each of the accused persons played a specified role in the transaction from KIA and on the plane to Heathrow Airport.

According to Mr Sampong, initial investigations revealed that in October 2010, Sarpong-Boateng contacted Mufuti, now on the run, to export eight kilogrammes of cocaine from Ghana to UK.

Their activities, Mr Sampong said, were monitored by security agents in Ghana and SOCA and three of them were arrested in the UK and later five others in Ghana.

He said thorough searches conducted in their homes revealed some documents and electronic equipment which were pertinent to the trial.

Source: GNA

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