President Mills receives report on “cocaine-to-sodium bicarbonate” case

President John Atta Mills

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) on Friday presented its interim report through the National Security Coordinator, Lieutenant Colonel Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (Rtd), to President John Evans Atta Mills.

An official statement signed by Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, said the President was now in receipt of the BNI’s interim report and was studying it for follow-up action.

The BNI was tasked by President Mills on December 14, 2011, in the wake of the cocaine turned sodium bicarbonate case, to unravel the mystery and report to him in order for government to carry out further action, which includes but not limited to ensuring that the law rigorously applied in punishing anybody found culpable.

A separate committee set up by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood, has presented its report.

The country was alarmed when an Accra Circuit Court expressed shock that a substance alleged to be cocaine, weighing 1,020 grammes, which was seized from an accused person, confirmed by the police to be cocaine after testing, later turned out to be sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) after the court had ordered another test to be conducted by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).

The judge, Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour, therefore, charged the Inspector General of Police, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, to institute a Service Enquiry to determine who might have tampered with or changed a slab of cocaine found on the suspect, Nana Ama Martin, into sodium bicarbonate.

The court, in acquitting Nana Ama over the drug charges, further ordered the IGP to prescribe the necessary sanctions when the culprits are found.

On August 22, 2008, Nana Ama was arrested with a slab of substance suspected to be cocaine and when it was tested it proved positive for cocaine. Nana Ama was charged with possession of narcotic substance without lawful authority, namely cocaine, and she pleaded not guilty.

The substance had been in the custody of the Police for three years until when hearing commenced in 2011 and the defence counsel insisted that the drugs should be re-tested at the GSA.

After the re-testing at GSB, the result was negative and that the substance was sodium bicarbonate.

The Police and Chief Justice Georgina Wood instituted investigations into the case, but the police were asked to stop their investigations while the BNI stepped in.

At least two women are said to have been arrested by the BNI since last week to help in the investigations.

They are Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gifty Agbenyega, Deputy Head of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Ms Hannah Osei, a friend of Nana Ama.

Media reports have said DSP Agbenyega was alleged to have met Nana Ama Martin over a dozen times while she was in custody and after her subsequent release when the stuff changed to baking soda.

Hannah is also alleged to have played a key role in the cocaine-turned-sodium carbonate saga.

Source: GNA

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