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29-Jun-2012  
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FREEDOM! DSP Gifty Tehoda accompanied by her husband soon after she was discharged in court yesterday
 
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FAMILY MEMBERS of DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, the police officer at the centre of the soda-cocaine case, could not hide their joy and excitement when an Accra Circuit Court, upon the request of the Attorney-General, discharged her unconditionally.

The court presided over by Francis Obiri yesterday granted the wish of Anthony Rexford Wiredu, the Principal State Attorney that the police officer should be discharged unconditionally. The judge subsequently struck out the suit.

DSP Tehoda was alleged to have assisted Nana Ama Martins, a suspected cocaine dealer, in escaping prosecution after a cocaine exhibit turned into baking soda.

Right after the court had made the pronouncement, her husband was seen applauding gently, with his face wreathed in smiles.

The family members, including her husband, walked out of the courtroom in a jubilant mood, with some prostrating to thank God for her freedom, while others crawled to show their excitement about the court’s decision.

DSP Tehoda, who seemed prepared to celebrate her release, pulled out white calico cloths from her bag and distributed them to her sympathizers including her lawyers, who tied them around their heads and necks to commemorate her victory.

The police officer wrapped her head with the calico and with powder all over her body, together with her family members, posed for journalists to take some photographs of her.

She had previously avoided the cameras as DAILY GUIDE photo journalist Gifty Lawson was once assaulted in court during the earlier stages of the trial when she attempted taking her picture.

DSP Tehoda was vehemently shielded from the journalists by officials of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI).

Gifty Lawson and other staff members were assaulted at gunpoint amidst death threats.

Mr Wiredu, who had received pressure from the court to start the case or the accused would be discharged, yesterday pulled a surprise by voluntarily asking the court to discharge the officer unconditionally.

At the last adjourned date, Mr. Wiredu had informed the court that he was finding it difficult to get witnesses, indicating that he was going to subpoena them for the matter to begin.

The court had therefore expected him to call in his witnesses but when the case was called, he informed the judge that he was not ready to start it, and that he would also not oppose a court decision to grant her an unconditional discharge.

Mr. Wiredu told the judge that the security agencies were on the ground unearthing every detail to complete investigations and therefore hinted that certain people including important personalities alleged to have a hand in the case were being arrested.

Therefore at the appropriate time, the prosecution would present its case.

Mr. Wiredu, who said for security reasons he would not talk much about the new development, added that the state decided not to enter a nolle prosequi, a procedure which allowed it to discontinue a case and re-arrest an accused within 48 hours, because it did not intend to re-arrest DSP Tehoda now.

E.A. Vordoagu, counsel for the accused, in response said, “We are happy that the prosecution is getting to the bottom of the issue. Prosecution intimated to the court that certain people have been arrested in connection with the case. Since no witnesses have been called yet, we can pray the court to acquit and discharge our client”.

Counsel observed that “the incoming days will be interesting. We are waiting to see what events will unfold”.

On this note, counsel prayed the court to uphold the submission by the prosecutor and discharge the accused person.

After the court sitting, counsel, in an interview with journalists, indicated that the decision by the AG was in the interest of justice and also praised the prosecution for being candid to the court by informing it about how far it was going with the case.

DSP Tehoda, on February 6, was put before an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Audrey Korcuvie-Tay on a charge of abetment of crime, to wit, undertaking an activity relating to narcotic drug contrary to section 56 (c) and 3 (2) of the PNDCL 236 Narcotics Drug (Control, Enforcement and Sanction) Act, 1990.

The police officer who had been walking in and out of custody pleaded not guilty to the new charges and was on a GH¢100,000 bail with two sureties. She was arrested by the BNI after the security agency had conducted investigations, on the directions of Vice President John Mahama, into how the 1,020 grammes of cocaine had turned into baking soda.

The investigations, according to the prosecutor, revealed that DSP Tehoda, deputy head of the Commercial Crime Unit at the CID headquarters, knew about the swapping of the substance and also knew Nana Ama Martins, the woman who allegedly owned the cocaine.

Mr. Wiredu said the police officer arranged for a lawyer for the cocaine suspect and allegedly met with Nana Ama Martins a dozen times while she was in custody and also after her subsequent release when the stuff changed to baking soda.
 
 
 
Source: Mary Anane/D-Guide
 
 

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