Ghana Police flaws BNI, Chief Justice reports on swapped cocaine

The Ghana Police Service has described as flawed the premises upon which the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the Chief Justice’s Committee carried out their investigations on the cocaine that turn into sodium bicarbonate after a court ordered for its retesting.

The Police Administration has therefore promised a reward of GH¢50,000.00 to anyone who will volunteer credible information to unravel the mystery.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday in Accra, Mr Prosper Kwame Ablorh, Director General of the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said: “So far all the reports released have not addressed the issue of where, how, when and by whom the exhibit was swapped.

“We still stand by our conviction that the exhibit did not change form while it was in the Police custody”.

DCOP Ablorh said since the real issues had not well been addressed, the Police would continue to support all efforts to arrive at the truth.

He explained that the exhibit of cocaine, termed exhibit C was properly tendered in the court on 27 September 2011 and that there was no evidence that the exhibit was tampered with.

“As far as the Police are concerned, we discharged our responsibility perfectly in terms of the security and the integrity of the exhibit. We must add that there was no objection by the Defense Counsel, Mr Kwamla Mawuenyegah Senanu and the court (judge) when it was first tendered in evidence. Hence the objection raised by the Defense Counsel the next day was improper”.

Mr Ablorh indicated that the defense counsel had the opportunity to examine the exhibit, which was properly sealed and that as soon as the seal was broken and the court took custody of the exhibit, the Police had no dealings with it again as the chain of custody was broken.

He said on the issue of pungent smell, which was the basis of the Chief Justice Committee’s findings, the defense counsel never cited the absence of strong peculiar smell as one of the grounds of his objection raised on September 28, 2011.

Moreover, the trial Judge in ordering for a retesting of the exhibit never gave the absence of a “pungent smell” as one of the reasons, adding that ‘after an exhibit is examined, tested and analysed by an accredited laboratory, the seal of that laboratory is embossed on the exhibit.’.

He said it was wrong for the Chief Justice Committee to use the absence of the pungent smell as basis for their conclusion, explaining that qualitative analysis and chemical testing of cocaine was scientific, smell was no conclusive test and therefore the pungent smell had no scientific basis and could not be supported by any law.

Mr Ablorh said the Defense Counsel’s assertion that it was not the best practice for the Police to test the substances was untenable, adding that the Police Forensic Science Laboratory was a gazette and accredited institution that had been testing narcotic substances for 40 years plus.

He denied the allegation that the Police, including the investigator L/CPI Thomas Anyekese had told the defense counsel that his request for retesting the substance would cause “tsunami tremor” at the Police Headquarters.

“Moreover L/Cpl Anyekese, who was alleged to have made this statement, has flatly denied that he never had any interaction with the defense counsel, which was relied on by the Committee”.

He said it was therefore unfortunate that the Committee could rely on this unsubstantiated allegation as a fact to arrive at its findings. Surprisingly, the witness, Mr Anyekese, who was all the time available, was never confronted by the Committee with this allegation for his reaction, Mr Ablorh indicated.

He noted that the length of time of custody of the exhibit was immaterial and that what was important was the strict adherence to the chain of custody rule. “At any rate, if one wants to swap an exhibit, one does not need three years to swap one slab of cocaine. The 48 hours during which the cocaine was in the custody of the court was more than enough for it to be swapped”.

Mr Ablorh therefore expressed regret that the Committee sympathetically considered the lapses by the officers of the court to be merely administrative.

He said the BNI’s suggestion that the exhibit had not changed overnight needed to be examined again since the assertion that L/Cpl Anyekese visually identified and confirmed the exhibit on the 28th September 2011 as the same one tendered on the 27 September, 2011 was not correct.

“Indeed the Lance Corporal had said that he could not vouch for the exhibit that was shown to him on the 28th September as the one he tendered on the 27th September and therefore refused to have anything to do with it.

Source: GNA

1 Comment
  1. Cletus Nachelle says

    As a matter of fact the Chief Justice committe erred as well as the BNI in its investigations and report respectively. The swap of the cocaine did not occur while in Police custody. The Court officials who dealt directly with the cocaine needs to be investigated, lets not forget of how the seal was broken and the storage of it by the court. Its evidently clear that, the BNI and the Chief Justice committee did not exhust all possible leads that was so open and clear to arrive at their sympathetic conclusion. The Police cannot be faulted at this material moment. The material questions that need to be answered by the defense counsel, the presiding judge and the court officials who came into contact with the cocaine cannot be ignored. A sealed texted exhibit was tendered in an open court, parties identified and never raised any objection as to its authenticity. As soon as the court took custody of it, the defense counsel had a problem the next day. The Director of CID, is absolutely clear on the issues and concerns he raised in his press conference. An investigative body/committee cannot and would never leave out an important witness in its findings, as to why the investigator was left out and never invited to testify in both the BNI and the CJC, raises some eyebrows. The Police cannot be used as a shield to cover the irresponsible and unprofessional act of the court. As a national investigative body, the BNI needs to be on top of its game than using the Police as a scapegoat in the unprofessional and unethical conduct of their investigation. Lets take a critical look at cout procedures in handling and preserving tendered exhibits. Lets not forget that, there were a lot of llop holes at the court, the BNI investigations and that of the CJC. Long live the Ghana Police Service, Long live the CID.

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