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Exopa Cocaine Wahala: NACOB Official Testifies   
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Exopa Model Agency,CEO Sima Ibrahim
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The Chief Executive of the country’s leading model agency, Exopa Model Agency, Sima Ibrahim, was “indebted and hard pressed for cash”, hence his attempt to export narcotic substance to Germany for a fee, an Accra Fast Track High Court heard yesterday.

This was the testimony of Anthony Smith, the Narcotic Control Board officer, who arrested Sima, on September 7, 2009 at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra yesterday as the first prosecution witness in the case.

This was after the prosecution had opened its case, months after the arrest of Sima who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted exportation and possession of narcotic drug without authority.

Sima, the organizer of the first-ever Ghana International Fashion Show in July 2009 after a successful Ghana Fashion Week in 2008, is currently on remand at the Nsawam Maximum Prison.

Mr. Smith, led in evidence yesterday by State Attorney George Kwadwo Ofori, told the court presided by Justice Charles Quist that Sima told him during interrogation that he (Sima) was in debt and needed money to defray it.

Sima, according to Mr. Smith, initially told him that the suspected narcotic substances which were concealed in four cut-and-sealed tubers of yam were given to him by Salifu of Nima, in Accra but could not lead his team to locate the said Salifu.

The narcotic control officer said a field test of the substances tested positive of cocaine, noting that it was at that stage that he asked Sima why he was exporting a narcotic substance to which he said he was “hard pressed for cash”.

Touching on Sima’s arrest, Mr. Smith said on September 7, 2009, he told his officers at the KIA that they were going to target frequent travelers and around 8:40pm, they spotted Sima at the departure hall and two officers were detailed to monitor him.

He said while going though departure formalities, the officers questioned Sima and later brought to him (Smith) on his orders for further questioning.
Mr. Smith, said when he enquired from Sima about his destination and why he was going there, Sima answered that he was travelling to Germany because he has an agency there.

Mr. Smith said he further asked Sima about the contents of his travelling bag and he answered that it contained four tubers of yam and his personal belongings.

Sima he said was subsequently taken to a section of the tarmac where all luggage were kept and Sima identified his bag for verification. He said Sima was then taken to his office and in the presence of some staff of Lufthansa Airline and his men, the content taken out one after the other and that he knew its contents, which he packed himself.

The Narcotic Control officer said the search process was filmed. He said after the items had been taken out from the luggage, he found the tubers of yam in a transparent polyethylene bag and during examination, three of the four tubers were found to have been cut.

“I asked him about it but he could not answer so I called for a knife and I cut the yams,” he told the court, adding that he found the substances in a white bag in each of the three yams.

The fourth yam, he said, has a blue polythene bag in which the substance was concealed. Mr. Smith told the court that at about 2am, he and his team of about eight went to Sima’s house at Tema where they found similar variety of the yams, glue and a knife in his kitchen. Sima, according to Smith, told them that he used the knife to cut the yams and sealed them with the glue.

During cross-examination, Mr. Smith told the court that the airlines always provided them with information on their passengers ahead of the flight time and that they also have a database of all frequent travellers. The case was adjourned to February 1, for cross-examination to continue.
Source: The Ghanaian Times/Ghana

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