Swapped cocaine: DSP Mawuenyega before Human Rights Court

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) on Wednesday put Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gifty Mawuenyaga Tehoda before the Human Rights Court.

This follows an order by the Court last Wednesday directing the BNI and the Attorney General to produce her in court and show cause as to why she was being detained.

DSP Mawuenyega, Deputy Commander of Commercial Crime Unit at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters, had been detained by the BNI for alleged suspicious dealings with Nana Ama Martins, who was at the centre of the recent cocaine-turned-sodium bicarbonate saga.

DSP Mawuenyega, who was picked up on December 29, 2011, after investigators from the BNI established suspicious dealings between her and Nana Martins, had since been in the custody of the BNI.

The court after listening to counsels in the matter, asked Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, Principal State Attorney, who represented the A-G to come tomorrow Thursday, January 12, 2012 and show the cause as to why DSP Mawuenyega was being kept in BNI custody.

The court which was not happy with the number of days the police officer had spent in custody, noted that the BNI had not followed due process and it was going to grant the senior Police officer bail as a result of that.

“The issue at stake is about following the due process. Is the detention lawful?”, the trial judge, Mr Justice Essel Mensah quizzed.

The court cautioned: “Don’t put heavy loads on judges, we can’t carry them. I expect the BNI to know the law. Put her before a court for her to be remanded constitutionally.”

When the case was called, Mr Wiredu prayed the court to give him time so they could come and show the court the cause as to whether or not the senior Police officer should be granted bail.

“We have obeyed the court and produced her. All we are asking the court is to grant as time to come and show the court why she must remain in BNI’s custody,” he added.

According to Mr Wiredu, when such applications were brought before the court, it allowed the other party four days to respond.

Mr Oliver K. A Dzeble, counsel for Mawuenyega lamented over his inability to have access to his client who was in the custody of the BNI, adding “ the BNI  was making life unbearable for all of us.”

Responding to Mr Wiredu’s argument, Mr Dzeble noted that the conduct of the BNI was in violation of Article 14 (4) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Dzeble noted that constitutional rights was supreme and prayed the court to wave the four days request of the A-G.

Relatives of DSP Mawuenyga vented their spleen on a Daily Guide photojournalist who attempted to take a shot of her soon after the matter had been adjourned by the court.

The relations caused damage to the camera and rained insults on journalists, raving  “Fools you don’t know anything.”

An exparte motion on a writ of Habeas Corpus was filed against the BNI and the Attorney General to produce the body of the Senior Police officer in court.

This the court granted and ordered the BNI and A-G to produce the senior Police officer in person today and show cause why she was being kept in BNI custody.

The court noted that reasons for the applicant’s detention were unknown except to say she dealt with Nana Ama Martins.

The BNI contended that there were suspicions that DSP Mawuenyega facilitated the swapping of the cocaine exhibit at the court.

It said DSP Mawueyega’s unit had nothing to do with the case, and yet she was said to have met Nana Martins several times in her office on the blind side of the Police Narcotics Unit, which was investigating the case.

According to the BNI source, DSP Mawuenyega claimed to have known the suspect since 2008.

It said police internal investigations had revealed that a female officer had been in contact with Nana Martins, facilitated the sale of her house and got her a lawyer.

As soon as Nana Martins returned from the US where she had jumped bail and was re-arrested, DSP Mawuenyega sought counsel for her.

According to the source, investigations by the BNI had established some dealings between DSP Mawuenyega and Nana Martins and her relations.

Nana Martins was acquitted and discharged by the Accra Circuit Court for possessing cocaine in the trial which was aborted after the court had upheld a submission of ‘no case’ made by counsel for the accused.

The court was puzzled as to how a substance alleged to be cocaine which was seized from the accused person, confirmed by the police to be cocaine after testing and weighing 1,020 grammes later turned out to be sodium bi-carbonate after the court had ordered another test to be conducted by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).

After more than three years into the trial, the court called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to, as a matter of urgency,  institute a service inquiry to determine who might have tampered or changed the drug alleged to have been found on the accused and  to prescribe the necessary sanctions.

The substance had been in the custody of the police and the court ruled that if the allegation was true, it was a serious indictment on efforts by the law enforcement agencies to curtail the drug menace in the country.

Source: GNA

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