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Cocaine Woman Flees – Prosecutor   
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Anthony Rexford Wiredu, the state attorney prosecuting the police officer at the centre of the soda cocaine saga, DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, yesterday, asked an Accra Human Rights Court that the suspected cocaine dealer, Nana Ama Martins, was on her way out of the country.

Mr Wiredu told the court presided over by Justice Kofi Essel Mensah that he had information that Nana Ama was seen at the Ghana-La Cote d’Ivoire border trying to escape to the French speaking country and therefore told the court not to grant DSP Tehoda bail as demanded by her counsel.

This was after Justice Mensah had observed that the charge sheet on which DSP Tehoda was standing trial for abetment and stealing of cocaine was defective.

The judge, after listening to submissions by the lawyers of the accused, E.A. Vordoagu and Oliver K.A. Dzeble, as well as the state attorney, Mr Wiredu, said that the prosecution contradicted itself on the charge sheet and granted the police officer a GH¢100,000 bail with two sureties.

The contradictions had occurred from the statement of the offence and the particulars of offence on the charge sheet.

Under the statement of offence, DSP Tehoda was charged with ‘abetment of crime, to wit stealing of cocaine’ under section 20(1) of Act 29/60 and section 56(a) of the PNDCL 236 (Narcotic Drugs (control, Enforcement and Sanctions Act 1990).

However, there was a contradiction in the breakdown of the offence under the particulars of offence which said DSP Tehoda abetted one Nana Ama Martins’s families and other individuals to ‘commit a crime to wit loss of cocaine exhibit.’

The judge admitted that the case, though simple, had become a topical issue for which he had to handle it with care. He indicated that the law was clear that cocaine suspects should not be granted bail but in that instance, the police woman had not been charged with a narcotic offence.

Justice Mensah observed that the statement of offence bore no reference to stealing of cocaine for which she should be accused of abetment.

DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda
He said there was no offence such as “loss of cocaine exhibit” in the laws of Ghana as stated in the particulars of the offence, therefore he could not equate loss of cocaine to stealing of cocaine since the two were not the same.

The judge, who was of the view that the offence of loss of cocaine exhibit was alien to the laws of Ghana, ruled that the freedom of DSP Tehoda could not be curtailed under a flawed charge and subsequently granted her bail.

It would be recalled that the Human Rights Court, on January 12, 2012, granted DSP Tehoda bail after observing that the BNI had no locus to continue to detain her after 48 hours.

She was however re-arrested a few hours after regaining freedom for further interrogation.

The police officer was arraigned at an Accra Circuit court presided over by Mrs. Audrey Korcuvie-Tay on a charge of abetment of crime, to wit stealing of cocaine, to which she pleaded not guilty but was refused bail and remanded in police custody.

Mr. Vordoagu, who alleged that the accused was remanded in the absence of her lawyers in his bail application yesterday, indicated that the circuit court judge’s decision was as a result of misdirection of the ‘defective, incompetent and frivolous’ charge sheet.

He argued that although the prosecution had the right to prefer even 100 charges against his client, they could not lump the two offences of stealing cocaine and loss of cocaine under section 20(1) of Act 29/60 and section 56(a) of the PNDCL 236 since it was inconsistent with the law.

He prayed the court to grant the accused bail, claiming that as a senior police officer, she would avail herself for the trial.

Counsel said they were ready to put up a defence for justice to prevail in the matter.

Oliver Dzeble, the other counsel, also added that he had been denied access to the accused by the BNI in order for him to confer with her.

He said the only time he had an opportunity to speak to her was when she was brought to court.

In an affidavit in opposition to the bail application, Mr. Wiredu, said the accused was arraigned lawfully at the circuit court and not clandestinely.

Although her counsel was not around, she was well represented by one Mr. Babanawo, a senior lawyer from the same chamber of the accused’s counsel.

He said from January 17, 2012, no counsel had visited DSP Tehoda and had been refused access but admitted that the husband and her uncle had been denied access to the accused.

The reason for refusing them was as a result of their interference in the case.

Mr. Wiredu alleged that Sergeant Mawuenyega, the uncle of the accused, called one Serwah Yaaba, a sister to Nana Ama Martins, the woman accused of dealing in the cocaine which turned into soda, and asked her not to co-operate with the police.

That allegation, he said, the uncle admitted when he was interrogated by the BNI.

The husband, according to Mr. Wiredu, also on three occasions called the accused while in custody and advised her not to co-operate with the police.

The state attorney said the attitude of the two relations showed that they were bent on doing everything possible to get her released and for that matter she would interfere with investigations when granted bail.

Mr. Wiredu, who disclosed that some high personalities’ names had popped up in the investigation, argued that the accused was standing trial on a narcotic offence so she could not be granted bail.

He disagreed that there was duplicity of the charge, arguing that the particulars of offence explained the statement of offence which to him was backed by the law.

Earlier, the case had to be stood down on two occasions because the state attorney was late for court and also the affidavit in opposition was not ready as at the time.

The state attorney, who apologized to the court for his lateness, explained that he was involved in some cases at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and therefore requested an hour to file his response before the application was moved.
Source: Mary Anane/Daily Guide

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