A local cultural troupe based in Accra, Junior All Stars, is demanding an unqualified apology from the United States (US) Embassy in Accra for mistakenly labelling one of its members as a run-away drug peddler.
The embassy did the mislabelling when members of the troupe went there for an interview session to acquire visas to enable them travel to perform in the US.
During the session, the embassy said one Junior All Stars member, the Stage Technician, Mr. Samuel Darko, is a wanted a drug peddler and a fugitive from Switzerland, and in a fantastic fashion he was apprehended and handed over to personnel of then Narcotics Control Board (NCB.)
The NCB sent Samuel Darko into detention in police cell for three days. However, following investigations, the NCB concluded that it was a case of “mistaken identity” and subsequently released Samuel Darko.
That bizarre incident happened in 2010, and Junior All Stars handed over the matter to its solicitors, Nkrabeah and Associates, who have twice written to the US Embassy making specific demands, but the embassy is yet to respond.
Speaking to Today, the troupe’s Artistic Director, Emmanuel Odoom, said an official of the NCB told them Samuel Darko was arrested because his “name and date of birth were the same as that of a drug peddler who had escaped from Switzerland and hence his arrest.
The official even added that it was the Swiss embassy that had launched a search for him and not the USA embassy…,” Mr. Odoom said.
According to Mr. Odom, an NCB official even disclosed to them after his release that the wanted drug peddler had been arrested and was serving a sentence at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons.
“If this [was verified as a] mix-up…, why [is] the embassy hesitating in rendering apology to the victim or even granting us visas” to make the trip, Mr. Odoom queried.
When Today contacted the media liaison office of the US Embassy via e-mail, an information officer, Jeanne L. Clark, replied that “as a matter of U.S. law we are prohibited from commenting on individual visa cases.”
This proven case of “mistaken identity” happened in 2010 when Junior All Stars applied for visas to enable them attend a national music festival organised by the Performing Arts Consultants (PAC,) a group formed in 1984 and based in Keyport, New Jersey.