Businessman held over money laundering discharged

A Circuit Court in Accra, on Friday discharged Mr Stephen Owusu a businessman, arrested at the Kotoka International Airport on December 31, 2019 for concealing $130,220 in his luggage while travelling from Ghana to China.

Owusu, was initially charged with an attempt to commit crime to wit exportation of currency without license from the Bank of Ghana and Money laundering.

Ms Annette Barnes, a Senior State Attorney said the state was withdrawing the charges and prayed the court to discharge the accused person accordingly.

She said there had been certain developments since the suspect was remanded which has necessitated the withdrawal of the charges.

Ms Barnes said based on the Section 59 (1) of Act 30 of the Criminal Procedure Code the state was praying the court to discharge the accused person.

The court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Essandoh, a High Court Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a Circuit Court judge, accordingly discharged Owusu.

According to the court, the Attorney General has shown that it was not persecuting, adding that after reading through the facts of the case it was evident that the AG would have no peg to hang on hence this decision.

The court further ordered the State to give back to the accused person the items seized from him on the day of his arrest which included mobile phones and jewelleries.

The suspect was represented by Mr Kwesi Mintah Beyin.

The case of the prosecution was that the complainants were operatives of the Narcotics Control Board stationed at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

That on December 31, last year, at about 2005 hours, Owusu, who deals in jewellery and watches in Kumasi was accosted at the airport while going through departure formalities to board Kenya Airways – Accra-Kenya-Guangzhou-China on suspicion of trafficking in narcotic drugs.

Prosecution said a thorough search in Owusu’s brown leather handbag revealed $130,220 concealed beneath his luggage.

According to prosecution, Owusu had packed his belongings on top to avoid detection.

The prosecution said Owusu in his investigative cautioned statement claimed ownership and admitted that he intentionally concealed the money.

Prosecution said they also found some assorted watches and jewelleries, which Owusu claimed he was returning to China because they were fake.

Source: GNA

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