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General News
"ACP Kofi Boakye Tape" played in court 2/22/2007
Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - Mr. Yaw Baah, a member of the Georgina Wood Committee, on Wednesday identified the controversial "ACP Kofi Boakye Tape" on which some alleged drug barons confessed their involvement in a cocaine deal.

The Compact Disc (CD), which was dropped by an anonymous person when the Committee requested the public to assist it to unravel the mysteries behind the missing 77 parcels of cocaine on board MV Benjamin, was also played in court.

Mr Baah, Member of Parliament for Kumawu, who represented Parliament on the Committee, identified the CD at the trial of Kwabena Amaning aka Tagor and Alhaji Issah Abass who are being tried in relation to narcotic offence.

Tagor and Alhaji Abass, who are alleged self-confessed drug barons, are jointly charged for conspiracy.

Tagor has additionally been charged for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, buying and supplying of narcotic drugs while Abass is being held for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs. They have pleaded not guilty and the court, presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse has remanded them in prison custody. Mr. Baah, the fifth prosecution witness, said the Committee, upon receiving an hour-long CD, played it several times and invited persons whose voices were on it.

According to him, the Committee identified the voices of Tagor and Alhaji Abass, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye, Kwabena Acheampong and Alhaji Imoro.

Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, who represented Tagor, objected to the playing of the tape, saying it had not been tendered. Mr Owusu-Fordjour said: "It is only when the CD had been subjected to the test of admissibility that we can play it to the hearing of the court."

According to defence counsel, no legal foundation had been laid to warrant the witness to tender CD in evidence.

"Which law allows persons to record private conversation? The 1992 Constitution jealously guards the liberties and freedom of persons...," counsel said.

Prosecuting, Ms Gertrude Aikins, Chief State Attorney stated that the argument of the defence was baseless because they had not asked the witness to tender it.

The court overruled the objection, saying the CD must be listened to in order to enable witness to identify the content. According to the court, witness only needed the authenticity of the CD. Continuing with his evidence in chief, Mr Baah admitted the contents on the tape.

The MP said the Georgina Wood Committee in its report recommended that 14 persons should be prosecuted and "among the 14 persons were Tagor and Alhaji Abass."

Answering questions under cross-examination by Mr Owusu-Fordjour, Mr Baah admitted that the Committee was unable to discover the source of the controversial "ACP Kofi Boakye Tape" adding, "It was dropped by anonymous person."

Defence Counsel (DC): "It is true that the said conversation recorded on CD bore no date and time?

Witness: "We were not concerned about the date and time. What was important was the message on it."

DC: "Did the Committee have duplicate of the CD"

Witness; "No, my Lord"

DC: "I put it to you that Amaning at no stage of the Committee admitted the voice on the tape as his."

Witness: "Amaning said the tape was not clear but admitted that it was his voice."

DC: "I put it you that it was only ACP Kofi Boakye who identified his voice."

Witness: "My Lord, it is not true."

DC: ACP Kofi Boakye told the Committee that the CD had been edited. Witness: "I can''t remember."

However, witness admitted that that there were several tapes in the media, some of which were 20 to 30 minutes long on the alleged meeting at ACP Kofi Boakye''s house.

DC: Do you remember the names of the other persons who were to be tried?

Witness: "ACP Kofi Boakye, Kwabena Acheampong and the owners of the cocaine."

DC: "Is it true that the Committee was unable to discover the whereabouts of the 77 parcels of cocaine, where they were allegedly hidden or their existence?

Witness: "Yes but the Committee was able to establish the owners, how it arrived and the role some persons played."

DC: The CD is not clear?

Witness: Yes it''s true but the Committee with the assistance of some technical expertise transcribed it.

DC: "No technical expertise identified the voices on the CD." Witness: "It is never so."

Mr Mohammed Atta, who represented Alhaji Abass, also took turn to cross-examine Mr Baah.

DC: "Did you find anything linking Alhaji Moro and Manhyia?" Witness: "In the said conversation on the CD, I only heard the title ''Ohene'' and that could mean any chief as there are so many chiefs in the country."

Witness explained further that on the CD Alhaji Abass had explained that the Otumfo himself would have handed Amaning to the security agencies if he (Amaning) had gone to him for help.

Witness said Alhaji Moro had denied working in Manhyia.

DC: "My client was not allowed to make his case before the Committee."

Witness: "It is so because his lawyers indicated to the Committee that in view of the arrest of their client he could not comment on the matter."

Detective Inspector Charles Adaba, the investigator of the case, was the next witness in the dock.

Detective Inspector Adaba told the court that when the case was handed over to him to investigate, he was not able to trace the source of the tape.

According to him, Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, handed over the CD to him.

The defence team, however, objected to the tendering of the tape through Detective Adaba, saying it was not coming from "proper custody". The court is expected to rule on defence objection on March 14. The case of the prosecution is that the accused are self-confessed drug barons, who since 2004 had been actively engaged in activities of promoting and establishing various enterprises relating to narcotic drugs.

In the process, the accused persons purchased, supplied, paid and credited the drugs, which they further distributed outside and within the country.

The prosecution said on April 26, 2006, a ship, MV Benjamin, anchored in Tema breakwaters with 77 parcels of cocaine. However, 76 parcels were offloaded into two canoes, which landed at the Kpone Beach in the Greater Accra Region.

The prosecution said the news of the 76 parcels got to people of the underworld and even the security agencies also had wind of it. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye invited them to a meeting in his house at Kanda in relation to the missing cocaine. At that meeting, the accused persons voluntarily confessed to their dealings in narcotic business and even boasted openly of previous activities.

The accused in the process also confessed openly that they had purchased drugs, supplied, credited and distributed drugs outside. The accused at ACP Kofi Boakye''s house also agreed to locate the 76 parcels of cocaine seized and shared them in furtherance of their business because the quantity of cocaine brought in by the ship was too much for one person to enjoy.

The Government set up the Georgina Wood Committee to investigate some cocaine-related cases, including the MV Benjamin case and alleged bribery of senior police officers in connection with 588 kilos of the drugs seized from some Venezuelans at East Legon in Accra


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