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Two Nigerians in $12m cocaine deal appear in court

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law-and-justiceTwo Nigerians who were recently nabbed by security operatives over 372 bottles of substances suspected to be cocaine valued at $12 million on Tuesday appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court.

James Ekeke Chukwu and Sammy Ikechekwu Benjy Eke, both businessmen are being held for engaging in criminal conspiracy and importation of narcotics without authority.

Eke was additionally charged for possessing 62 boxes containing 372 bottles of liquid substance suspected to be cocaine.

The court presided over by Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh reserved their pleas and remanded them into Police Custody to reappear on March 12 pending further investigations into the matter.

The facts as presented by Mr Asiamah Sampong, Principal State Attorney are that during the month of December last year, the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) through its foreign counterpart received an intelligence report to the effect that a cargo said to be containing quantities of cosmetics from Bolivia to Tema Port had narcotic drugs concealed in them.

On January 29 this year, the cargo which was consigned to a company called Consumables Lines Limited arrived at the Tema Port. Officers of the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) mounted surveillance on the cargo in a 40 footer container with Number MRK 257 48-45 GI belonging to Maersk Shipping Line Company.

Prosecution said in February this year, two clearing agents and witnesses in the case arrived with the necessary documents to clear the goods. Inspection of the import documents suggested that the cargo was billed to contain 22 pallets of assorted cosmetics.

According to prosecution, the container arrived with the seal number ML 014986 intact and the container was opened for inspection in the presence of the agents. During physical examination of the goods green bottles of liquid substances suspected to be cocaine were found sealed in surgical gloves.

The clearing agent denied knowledge of the narcotic drugs and the cargo but another agent told investigators that a second hand cloth dealer who was a client to Chukwu who introduced Eke to her as an importer of cosmetic products who wanted his goods to be cleared for him.

The agent further stated that she was therefore presented with the necessary documents in her office by the two accused persons and she (the agent) was formally engaged  to clear the goods.

Prosecution indicated that further investigations led to the arrest of Chukwu at Aplaku Junction near Weija when he attempted to take delivery of the cargo.

Prosecution said Chukwu mentioned Eke as the owner of the container and stated that sometime  in 2011, Chukwu told him (Eke) that he had the desire to import cosmetics from South America to Ghana.

Based on that Chukwu said he assisted Eke to register a company known as Consumables Lines Limited at the Registrar General’s Department.

Prosecution said Chukwu stated that in December 2012, Eke came to him with the import document of the cargo which was on high seas from Bolivia to Tema.

Eke was lured into the country and he blamed Chukwu and two others for concealing the drugs in the cargo of cosmetics.

Investigation led to the retrieval of 180,600 CFA, 18,700 dollars, 3,945 Naira and GH¢680 from Eke, while GH¢2,150 was found on Chukwu.

Prosecution alleged the monies were believed to be proceeds from the sale of narcotic drugs.

Prosecution further stated that the substances had been forwarded to the Ghana Standards Authority for analytical examination.

Source: GNA

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