Commitee on cocaine probe ends sittings

Sittings of a Four-Member Committee set up by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina .T. Wood to unravel mystery surrounding the cocaine kept in the exhibit room at a circuit court registrar’s office that metamorphosed into Sodium Bicarbonate, ended in Accra on Tuesday.

This was after it had called 11 key witnesses including the trial judge, Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour. No member of the public brought any contribution to the committee although it had requested for that.

The Committee after hearing the witnesses is expected to retire to chambers to write and present its report to the Chief Justice. They were given seven days to present their report.

Meanwhile, the Committee was informed by Mr George Asamaney, a Witness Counsel that Mr Kyei-Baffour has officially been invited by the Bureau of National Investigations in the morning therefore, would be late in appearing before it.

Earlier, appearing before the Committee, for re-examination, Mrs Stella Arhin, a State Attorney, said she did not smell anything pungent when the exhibit was opened in court on September 27, 2011.

She said the Police could not prosecute a drug case until it received advice from the Attorney General’s Department.

Mrs Arhin said initially she wanted the case involving the Republic versus Nana Ama Martin to be heard at the High Court but she realised that “so much had taken place at the Circuit Court,” hence allowed the trial to take place there (Circuit Court).

Next to take his turn was Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Aidan Dery, first prosecutor in the case, said in August 2008, his superiors assigned to him the case of the Republic versus Nana Ama Martin.

The case was presented before Mr Iddrisu Mahama, a Circuit Court Judge, who remanded Nana Ama Martin but he (the trial judge) was transferred to Kumasi.

Not quite long, DSP Dery said he also went to Sudan for peacekeeping mission and while he was away all his case dockets were distributed among his colleagues.

A year after, DSP Dery said on his return to Ghana his superiors asked him to take over his cases including that of Nana Ama Martin. According to him, he was informed by one investigator Detective Constable Joseph Owusu that Nana Ama Martin had jumped bail after a High Court had admitted her to bail.

DSP Dery said as part of the steps taken, he went to court and obtained a bench warrant to arrest Nana Ama Martin and her two sureties.

Answering questions under cross-examination, DSP Dery said he did not see the exhibit in question.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mrs Justice Agnes Dordzie quizzed DSP Dery over his failure to follow procedure in respect of cases of robbery and narcotics.

The Committee headed by an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Agnes Dordzi, a High Court Judge, Abdulai Iddrisu, and Chief Judicial Registrar, Mr John Bannerman and Nii Boye Quartey, Director Human Resource Deaprtment, Judicial Service was Secretary to the Committee had seven days within which to submit its report.

Drama unfolded at the Circuit Court in Accra on Tuesday, December 13, when the 1.8 kilogrammes of cocaine exhibit tendered in evidence to the court turned out be Sodium Bicarbonate leading to the discharge of the accused person Nana Ama Martin, who had been standing trial since 2008 for possessing narcotics.

The Police and the court are in a blame game leading to a petition to the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood, to look into her stable for possible culprits. GNA

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