Court Orders TV Presenter Extradited
An Accra Magistrate, Arit Nsemoh, yesterday ordered the extradition of Aisha Gangarey, TV presenter and five others who are being tried for allegedly sending 3.7 kilograms of heroin into the USA through couriers.
Gangarey, Benjamin Boamah (alias Kweku), Derrick Boateng, Lawrence Aboagye and another group, as well as Alvin Salim Mustapha and Derrick Maxwell, were charged with conspiracy to import and export narcotic drugs without lawful authority and dealing in narcotic drugs.
Giving reasons for her decision, the trial judge said there is a treaty among Ghana, Britain and the USA for the extradition of people suspected to have been involved in any criminal act(s) to be extradited at the instance any of the three countries, for expeditious trials.
In addition, she 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, said what should govern any extradition trial is the Extradition Act.
According to him, the Act spells out the types of offences where suspects could be extradited and that heroine was not stated as one of the offences, adding that heroine falls under an area called the ‘dangerous gaps’ and was not specifically stated in the Act.
According to him, the state had not been able to get hold of a transcript of the conversation between the suspects on one hand, and the couriers sent to the US who were arrested on the other.
The couriers, who were allegedly sent to the US, were arrested at JFK and Washington International Airports in the States and mentioned the suspects as those who sent them.
Counsel for the suspects said Ghana, being a dualist nation, ‘international laws should not be made to take precedence over our national laws.’
Mr. Abariga told DAILY GUIDE after the verdict that he had 15 days within which to appeal against the ruling and would do that as soon as possible because there was a disconnection between the alleged offence and what the State Attorney, Mrs. Rebecca Adjalo, was seeking to use the PNDC Narcotics Law to do.
The State Attorney, who presented the facts on Aisha Gangarey, stated that she is a Ghanaian and TV presenter, adding that her husband (now deceased) had a partner who was arrested in the United States in 2012 over drugs.
She said the FBI, in collaboration with Interpol Accra, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and the United States Embassy, received a deposition on August 28, 2013 through the Attorney-General for the extradition of Aisha after her deceased husband’s partner, who was arrested in the United States over heroin, became a CW.
According to her, the suspect mentioned Aisha as the one who sent her 1.5 kg of heroin through a courier at the cost of $35,000.
She stated that there was also an extradition request for Boamah, Boateng and Aboagye.
Mrs. Adjalo said the deposition stated that on April 19, 2012, a drug suspect was arrested at Washington International Airport by US Customs officials after he had expelled 767-gram pellets of heroin.
In addition, she said the suspect, during interrogation, mentioned the Ghanaian suspects as those who helped her to obtain the said drugs for a trip to the US.
The prosecuting attorney noted that Mustapha and Maxwell are residents of Newtown who are also wanted by the US authorities.
Explaining further, she said the request followed the arrest of a suspect at JFK Airport after he had arrived from Ghana with Delta Airlines and was arrested with 1.4 kg of heroin allegedly given by the suspects.
The charges were dropped after the State Attorney handling the case, Rebecca Adjalo, entered nolle prosequi to free the suspects but they were re-arrested and hauled before an Accra Magistrate Court at Adjabeng for a remand order.
By Fidelia Achama
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