Court Okays Aisha Extradition
An Accra High Court on Friday dismissed an application seeking to overturn the extradition of a TV presenter and 5 others by a Magistrate Court for allegedly dealing in narcotics.
The accused persons include TV presenter Aisha Gangarey, Martin Okpoti, Benjamin Boamah (alias Kweku), Derrick Boateng, Lawrence Aboagye, Alvin Salim Mustapha and Derrick Maxwell.
The accused persons had, through their counsel, filed an appeal against their extradition to the US to face trial for their alleged roles in the exportation of 3.7 kilograms of heroin through couriers.
In a ruling, Justice Merley Wood said a prima facie case had been made against the accused persons.
She said the court was of the view that the offences against the applicants were eradicable and was satisfied that the accused persons had a case to answer.
The trial judge subsequently dismissed their application.
Earlier in an appeal filed at an Accra Magistrate court, dated June 5, 2014, it said the Extradition Act clearly states the list of offences for which a person can be extradited to another country to stand trial, adding that the Pharmacy Act which was passed in 1960 listed heroin as one of the offences for which one could be extradited.
According to their affidavit in support of the motion, the Pharmacy Act repealed certain portions of it and stated that as a result of that, offences relating to dangerous drugs such as heroin were no longer extraditable
Furthermore, it noted that the Pharmacy Act had even been repealed by the Health Professions Regulatory Act 2013 and that the present state of the law of Ghana did not permit for a person to be extradited for any offence relating to narcotic drugs and heroin for that matter.
According to the affidavit, the Extradition Act does not refer to the Narcotic Drugs Control Enforcement and Sanctions Act but the Pharmacy Act as being extraditable, an act which has been appealed without listing heroin as an extraditable offence.
It further stated that their committal in prison custody was a violation of their right to stand criminal liability in respect of offences expressly proscribed by law and was unconstitutional.
The suspects consequently wanted the court to order the A-G to release them.
Mrs. Arit Nsemoh in her ruling had stated there was a dual criminality agreement between Ghana and the USA, where persons suspected to be involved in any criminal acts could be extradited for trial.
She said there was a treaty signed between Ghana, Britain and the USA for the extradition of suspects at the instance of any of the three countries for expeditious trials.
In addition, Mrs. Nsemoh explained that Schedule 9 of the PNDC Law relating to narcotics applied to the case and consequently ordered that they be extradited.
Earlier, Paul Assibi Abariga, counsel for the suspects, had told the court that what should govern any extradition trial was the Extradition Act.
According to him, the Act spelt out the types of offences by which suspects could be extradited and heroin was not stated there, insisting that heroin fell under an area called the dangerous gaps where it was not specifically stated.
Mr. Abariga said the state had not been able to get hold of a transcript of the conversation between the suspects and the couriers who were sent to the US and were arrested.
The couriers were arrested at JFK Airport and Washington International Airport in the States, and allegedly mentioned the other suspects as those who sent them.
Counsel for the suspects said that being a dualist nation, Ghana should not allow
international laws to take precedence over her laws
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