Amoateng's Properties Yet To Be Confiscated - Agalga

Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga, says government has initiated steps to confiscate properties owned by convicted drug felon Eric Amoateng, ten years after he was arrested. The former MP has since served his 10 year jail term in the US and has returned to Ghana ostensibly to enjoy the fruits of his labour. Speaking to after his initial disclosure on Samson Lardy Anyenini's Newsfile programme, the deputy minister said NACOB and the Attorney General's office have the burden of proof to determine whether the properties of Amoateng were acquired through the illicit trade and they have begun the process. Amoateng was arrested in November 12, 2005 for smuggling a $6 million street price of heroin to the US. He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea months after and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in August this year and is facing fresh charges of passport fraud. Concerns have been raised about whether the government has taken steps to confiscate the properties of the returnee drug convict. By law, persons convicted of drug related offences have their properties confiscated once insurmountable proof has been given that those properties were acquired through drug trafficking. The rationale is to deter people from engaging in the drugs business and make it a high risk and low paying enterprise. Ten years on, nothing substantial has been heard about a possible confiscation of the assets of Eric Amoateng. James Agalga said there is no cause for worry. "There are elaborate procedures that have to be followed through. The record of proceedings and everything must be extracted from the court that tried him in the US to enable NACOB and the Attorney General to take action," Agalga dismissed the assertions that the delay in confiscating the assets may encourage others to engage in the trade. "I don't think so. The most important thing is that his properties have been identified and are being dealt with by way of the attempt that has been made to confiscate the properties. "He has a right to put up his defense and prove that, look those properties were not acquired through the proceeds of crime. The state has a burden to prove that he acquired them through the proceeds of crime. "The process has been initiated. Keep your ears on the ground and you will know what is happening," he stated.