12 November 2012

Ghana: Cocaine Racket Rocks Police

Cocaine racket has hit the police administration, following the disclosure by the former Deputy Head of the Commercial Crime Unit, Mrs. Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda that some top police officers are deeply involved in drug business in the country.

The former police boss, who appears to have been rankled by the decision to dismiss her from the police service, alleged in her widely publicized petition to President Mahama that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vincent Dedzo, the current Deputy Director-General of the CID and other officers are neck deep in the cocaine business.

The disclosure has sent shivers down the spine of some of the senior officers and their cabal, as Gifty Mawuenyega launches a full crusade to reclaim her image. Mr. Dedzo and some of the officers named in the petition have not reacted to the accusation.

Similarly, the Police Administration, headed by Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye has also not made any public comment on the damming allegation. The Acting Public Relations officer of the Police Service, DSP Cephas Arthur, told The Chronicle in a telephone contact yesterday, that he travelled outside Accra and could, therefore, not tell if his bosses have reacted to the accusation or not.

The Director of the Police Administration, COP Rose Bio Atinga, also told the Chronicle in a telephone interview yesterday that DSP Tehoda has personally cited her for contempt, of which she had also filed a motion in opposition to her claim, therefore, she could not comment on the case.

DSP Tehoda reportedly assisted Nana Ama Martins, a suspected cocaine dealer, in escaping prosecution after a cocaine exhibit in possession of the police turned into washing soda. She was subsequently arrested and charged on one count of abetment of crime, to wit, undertaking an activity relating to narcotic drugs contrary to Section 56 (c) and 3 (2) of PNDCL 236, Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Act 1990.

The Bureau of National investigation (BNI), which investigated the case, alleged at the time that though Tehoda was not part of the investigation team, she had several interactions with Nana Ama Martins, the suspect, who was earlier arrested at the Airport Residential area in Accra, carrying the substance suspected to be cocaine.

The court hearing the case later discharged Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda for lack of evidence after she had been detained on a number of occasions at the BNI cells.

The Police Administration, however, decided to dismiss her from the service. The embattled former police boss, however, argues that since the allegation leveled against her has been dismissed by the court, she did not see the reason why the police administration should still go ahead to dismiss her from the Service.

She has since gone to court over the issue, but before proceeding to seek redress at the court, Tehoda had submitted a petition to President Mahama, in which she made a damning allegation against some of the top police officers.

The following is part of her petition;

Further Investigations and Damning Revelations

When I was eventually released from the cells of the BNI, the Director of Operations, Pious Awolenga had a chat with me and told me that because of the hype of the case in the media, it was possible that people may come to whisper into my ears about how the cocaine got swapped.

He asked that in case I chanced on any information, I should co-operate with them and make it available. Indeed, not quite long after my bail, some young men approached my pastor and indicated that they knew people in the cocaine underworld who had credible information on the missing cocaine.

I did not hesitate to line them up to the BNI operatives. In the course of time, they became informants. Through their assistance, they were able to bring the operatives into contact with sources in the cocaine underworld who volunteered startling and damning revelations.

According to the sources, it was Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vincent Dedzo, the current Deputy Director-General of the CID, who stole the missing cocaine. At the time, that was the latter part of 2008, he was the Head of the Narcotics Unit of the CID.

After stealing the cocaine from a safe, whose key was in his exclusive possession, he handed it over to a junior officer by name Mensah Cudjoe, who handed it over to a dealer by name Cantonna.

It ended up in the market for the value of Nineteen Thousand Dollars (US$19,000.00). These were the startling revelations from the informants, one of who claimed he had dealt in cocaine with ACP Vincent Dedzo since 2006.

Arrest of Mensah Cudjoe

Armed with the foregoing intelligence, the operatives of the BNI mounted surveillance on Mensah Cudjoe. One fine evening he was arrested in possession of 2 kilograms of cocaine. During interrogations, he traded information on past activities with ACP Vincent Dedzo.

He confessed to carrying cocaine for ACP Vincent Dedzo on 3 occasions, including the missing one. He confirmed that he indeed gave it to Cantonna. In respect of the two other occasions, he mentioned one Kwame Atta and one Adjei as recipients.

It is pertinent to note that the four names which were floated by the informants as people who usually dealt with ACP Vincent Dedzo, in the cocaine business were all confirmed during the interrogation of ACP Vincent Dedzo's courier, Mensah Cudjoe. These confession statements were made in the presence of two friends of Mensah Cudjoe.

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