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Court adjourns Moroccan woman cocaine case on lack of interpreter

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Trial of the 37-year-old Moroccan woman busted by officials of Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for alleged drug trafficking was on Tuesday adjourned to Wednesday by an Accra Circuit Court.

The court took the decision because there was no French interpreter at post to assist Fatima Elouardi who could not speak good English.

Plea of the accused charged with the importation and possession of whitish substances suspected to be narcotic drugs, was not taken and was remanded to re-appear on April 11.

Fatima who travelled on Emirates Airlines flight Number E.K 788 on transit from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Dubai was arrested with 2.7 kilogrammes of cocaine shortly on arrival in Accra on Thursday, April 5. The street value of the cocaine is $1 million.

When the case was called, Mr Asiamah Sampong, Principal State Attorney prayed the court presided over by Ms Audrey Kokuvi Tay to remand the accused on the provisional charges and should not take her plea to allow the State more time to complete the investigations.

Ms Tay however, refuted claims of the prosecution that there are provisional charges in law and should either enter a plea or the accused should be remanded for six days.

Mr Sampong however said the six days remand would not be enough for the prosecution to complete investigations into the matter.

The accused who was in tears explained to the court in Pidgin English that she bought the bag in South Africa but did not know how the whitish substance found its way into it.

Mr Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong, Executive Secretary of NACOB told newsmen on the arrest of the accused that one Youssef Salloum, 41, a Lebanese national believed to be an accomplice of Fatima is on the run.

He said security agencies had mounted a search for the arrest of Salloum, a resident at Dzorwulu in Accra.

Mr Akrasi-Sarpong said Fatima’s arrest was the result of collaboration between NACOB and its international partners which had been monitoring movement of the accused and her accomplice for sometime now.

Source: GNA

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