Ghana is indeed an interesting country with fascinating stories popping up every now and then. One wakes up to a piece of news in the media and asks if these really happened in Ghana as some of the things reported seem impossible. However, these strange things do happen, not only in Ghana, but across Africa. Some few years ago, snakes were swallowing huge sums of money in Nigeria. And in Ghana, seized cartons of cocaine have gone missing on several occasions.
It’s always considered fiction or satire when one reads in the news that cocaine is missing after its being intercepted by the police or other security officials. Interestingly, all the times such reports hit the media were actually true. The question has always been how these substances get missing after they are being seized and who is in charge of all these?
Snippets of information filtering through from intelligence circles indicate that fingers are pointing to some bigwigs but who are they? Let look at some instances this has happened within the country.
During erstwhile President Kufuor period in office, the police on May 21, 2006, arrested one Nigerian drug lord, Ben Huga, with 67 cartons of cocaine at Prampram. He was later granted bail in the sum of ¢300 million. Tension began to mount among personnel at the Narcotics Section of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), of the Police Headquarters in Accra over the strange vanishing of part of the 67 cartons of cocaine after it had been seized. Later the Minister for Interior Hon. Kwamena Bartels issued a statement indicating that a high-powered panel to be set up, by the Interior Ministry, to investigate the disappearance of narcotic drugs from police custody, which include the Prampram cocaine. Till date, the disappeared cocaine is still yet to be found.
On Friday April 28, 2017, The Finder newspaper published that 10 bags of suspected cocaine weighing 50kg each (500kg in all) were hidden in a consignment of rice with an estimated street value of about $30million, and disappeared from the Tema Port under puzzling circumstances. Some authorities called for the establishment of a full-scale probe into the strange disappearance of US$30 million worth of cocaine at the Tema Port but to no avail till date.
On July 26, 2009, 77 parcels of cocaine were declared missing which led to a long-held widespread belief that real culprits in the case of the so-called 77 missing parcels of cocaine from MV Benjamin were out there walking free which was confirmed by the Court of Appeal when Kwabena Amaning alias Tagor and Alhaji Abass, were set free for wrongful incarceration by an Accra Fast Track High Court in November 2007. Following massive public outcry questioning the bizarre circumstances that led to the so-called disappearance of the 77 parcels of the cocaine from MV Benjamin on April 26, 2006, the NPP government set up the Georgina Wood Committee on July 4, 2006, to investigate the disappearance of the drug among others. Till date, the outcome of the committee is yet to be known.
In 2011, one Nana Ama Martin’s was arrested for possessing large parcels suspected to be cocaine which later “turned” into baking soda in Police custody.
DSP Tehoda was linked to the deal and was interdicted and subsequently dismissed from the Ghana Police Service as Deputy Commander in-charge of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Ghana Police Service.
Tehoda said she was wrongfully dismissed and sought an order from the court for her reinstatement. In April 2017, the court ordered the reinstatement of Tehoda. According to the court, her dismissal constituted a breach of natural justices, right to be heard and fair trial during a service enquiry instituted by the Police.
Also, just recently some substance suspected to be high-value cocaine was intercepted at the Kpoglu border post in the Ketu South Municipality in the Volta Region. The weight of the missing cocaine was said to be 100.10 grammes, according to the Narcotics Control Commission. The commission indicated that the missing substance got missing in the space of three days whilst the seized items were in the custody of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Aflao Border post before it was to be transported to the headquarters of the Customs Division in Accra.
There were also concerns with respect to how the impounded bus arrived in the country despite the closure of the border. This story has been a topical issue for the past week as people are calling for an in-depth investigation into the matter. The Director-General for the Narcotic Control Commission has jumped to the defense of his men not to have stolen the 100.1 grams of the suspected cocaine that has gone missing.
For at least four times, seized cocaine has gone missing in Ghana. These substances were under the custody of trusted security officials with specific officers in charge, yet they went missing. Is the country really fighting the peddling of drugs? Why is no one put before the courts or punished when cocaine goes missing their custody? Is it safe to conclude that various governments are aware of the whereabouts of these disappeared drugs? Leave your views in the comment box below.
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