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Neo
16th December 2011, 01:18 PM
The Herald’s independent investigation at the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) into how cocaine in the custody of the court mysteriously turned into a washing soda is revealing that a court registrar and a police officer have questions to answer.

They are Detective Constable Owusu, Yusif Salifu, who is a Court Registrar, and a lady who refused to identify herself to the Ghana Standard Authority at the re-examination of the substance on the orders of the court presided over by His Honour Eric Kyei-Baffour. The identity of the lady is between the police and the registrar.

The three on Thursday, September 29, 2011 submitted a small quantity of the supposed one kilogram slab of the whitish substance earlier identified and collected by the court as cocaine, to the Ghana Standard Authority.

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The test was carried out by officers at the head office of the Authority, off the Legon-Madina Road opposite Gulf House near Tetteh Quashie Interchange in Accra, but proves not to be cocaine as expected.

The paper’s finding was corroborated by the Chief Executive of the GSA, Dr. George B. Crentsil in a brief interview, yesterday.
He confirmed that a court registrar and a police officer indeed, brought a 44-gram sample to be tested by his outfit, and this was done. However, of the 44 grams submitted for the assessment, his officers fetched only 5 grams in the presence of the court registrar and a police officer and handed over the rest of the sample to them.

Dr. Crentsil, told The Herald that neither he nor any of his officers could say who swapped the original item handed over to the court by the police since what was sent to his outfit was what was tested, certified and signed by all present including the court registrar and the police officer.

The Herald’s impeccable sources at the Authority had revealed that the Police Forensic Laboratory seal was not on the receptacle presented to GSB, rather it was a court seal on a brown envelope.

It was further learnt that the procedure at the GSB in such cases is to carry out verifications in the presence of law enforcers and in this case, Detective Constable Owusu, was present with the Court Registrar Yusif Salifu and the lady, when the checks were done.

After the form was signed, the preliminary test being the first phase of indentifying the substance called the field or screen test was carried out, but it also proved to be negative.

In order to confirm the accuracy of results, another test known as Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) was done. The TLC is a technique that is use for separating organic compounds, and it is often used to monitor the progress of organic reactions and to check the purity of products. It also proved negative.

A third test called Gas Chromatography was again carried out on the substance and once again the test proved negative.

Having carried out all three tests, it was clear that the substance submitted to the Ghana Standard Board (GSB) was not cocaine. A report was written, sealed and submitted to the court.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has expressed shock and disappointment in the judicial system for granting Nana Ama Martin, the suspect who was arrested with 1,020 grammes of cocaine bail on two occasions.

Madam Martin was arrested on August 28, 2008 with the alleged cocaine slabs, but was granted bail by an Accra High Court contrary to the spirit of the Criminal Code after the substance had been tested and proven to be cocaine.

DSP Kofi Adjei Tuadzrah, Head of the Narcotic Unit at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday stated that the suspect was granted bail on November 11, 2009 and later absconded but was lured back into the country by her surety.

DSP Tuadzrah explained that although possessing narcotics is a non-bailable offense, the suspect’s counsel managed to secure another bail at the High Court to the sum of 60,000 Ghana cedis with two sureties on the September 16, 2011 while trial was still on-going.

DSP Tuadzrah, who narrated the sequence of events leading to the strange disappearance of the cocaine, which was in the custody of the court, stated that the court had no business to release the suspect.

He added that the police cannot be indicted for the mysterious disappearance of the cocaine after their Forensic Unit handed over tested and confirmed cocaine substance to the court in the full glare of the public on the of September 27, 2011.

He said the Police Service was shocked after they went back to Court on September 28, 2008 for the defence attorney to call for a re-testing of the substance which had already been tested twice and confirmed to be cocaine.

According to him, the bigger surprise came when the next test revealed that the substance was sodium bicarbonate and not cocaine contrary to initial results. This he said led to the suspect being acquitted and discharged on last Tuesday.

He was, however, positive that despite the setback the truth will surely come out after the various committees set up to investigate the matter come out with their reports.



Source: The Herald