The Accra Circuit Court, hearing the case involving Christian Asem Darkeh alias Limping Man, has formally taken the plea of the suspect after initial exchanges between the Prosecution and the Defence Council.
Asem who is the man at the centre of the MV Benjamin cocaine saga, has been charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit crime, importation of narcotic drugs and possession of narcotic drug without lawful authority.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded into custody to re-appear on March 7. The Prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) A.A. Annor told the court presided over by Ms Audrey Kokuvi Tay that investigations in the matter was ongoing.
He said the Attorney General (AG) after the investigations may decide whether to continue the case at the circuit court or move to the high court. He said the case involving the MV Benjamin cocaine issue was handled some time ago at the high court so the investigators are still putting the pieces together to enable the prosecution start the case.
Mr George Heward Mills, Counsel for Asem Darkeh expressed dissatisfaction for the continuous detention of his client prayed the court to admit the accused to bail.
He said his client was arrested at the Korle-bu Hospital as a sick man going for treatment. He said the State "cannot continue to hold the accused forever because the liberties of the suspects are as stake". Mrs Audrey Kokuvi Tay, the trial judge charged the prosecution to expedite action on their investigations.
He said the prosecution could not continue to hide behind the law and detain the accused unduly. The facts are that sometime in April 2006, intelligence report gathered indicated that a shipping vessel named MV Benjamin had been spotted on the high seas carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine and heading towards the West African Coast, precisely Ghana.
He said on the midnight of April 26, 2006 the said vessel docked at Kpone/Tema and discharged the cocaine which were off-loaded into a waiting vehicle and taken away.
DSP Annor said investigations in the matter led to the arrest of some suspects who were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison on various terms. He said during investigations, the accused's name featured prominently as the importer and owner of the drugs as well as the person who charted the MV Benjamin from Ghana at the time at $150,000 to use in towing another vessel from Guinea.
The prosecutor said the accused carted the cocaine parcels away upon arrival of the ship at Kpone. DSP Annor said on February 2, 2012 the accused was arrested at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra upon a tip-off after being on the run since 2006.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|