An Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) has sentenced businessman, Asem Darkey, alias ‘Limping Man’, to 22 years imprisonment over the missing 77 parcels of cocaine on board the MV Benjamin vessel saga that rocked the country some eight years ago.
Asem Darkey, who is alleged to have hatched the deal with one Killer and two others, currently at large, has been found guilty on charges of conspiracy, importing narcotic drug, possessing narcotic drug, and corrupting a public officer for handing over a polythene bag full of unspecified amount of dollars to the law enforcers detailed to arrest him.
He is to serve 22 years each on all the charges, except the charge of corrupting a public officer, which he is to serve on year.
The sentences are to run-concurrently.
However, Asem Darkey was acquitted and discharged on the charges of undertaken prohibited business, as the court explained that the prosecution has failed to establish against the convict.
In pronouncing sentence, the court presided over by Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh took into consideration the number of years the convict had been in prison custody throughout the trial.
The sentence, according to the court, was to deter other people from engaging in the illegal drug activities in the country.
It is the case of the state that on April 26, 2006, intelligence gathered indicated that a shipping vessel called MV Benjamin was on the high seas carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine, and heading towards the West African Coast, specifically, Ghana.
According to the state, around midnight of the same day, the said vessel docked at Tema/Kpone and discharged the 77 parcels, which were offloaded into a waiting vehicle and taken away.
Investigations led to the arrest of a number of persons involved in the issue, who were put before various courts, tried, and convicted to various prison terms.
In the course of the trial of the earlier suspects, the name of Asem Darkey featured prominently as the importer and owner of the 77 parcels.
It was further established that ‘Limping Man’ chartered a vessel at the cost of $150,000 to transport another vessel carrying the narcotic drugs from Guinea, and which were then offloaded into the MV Benjamin on the high seas.
He carted away the 77 parcels from the vessel on its arrival at Kpone, near Tema, in the Greater Accra Region and when security personnel went to his hometown to arrest him, after having a hint of his presence at a funeral ground, Asem Darkey swerved them, escaped and went into hiding.
The convict also bribed the security men, who were detailed to arrest him. Meanwhile, the security men had already been convicted of their crime.
Asem Darkey had become a wanted person in Ghana until Thursday, February 2, 2012, when he was arrested at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital upon a tip-off.
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