Sheriff Asem Darkey, an alleged drug baron involved in the disappearance of the 76 parcels of cocaine on board the MV Benjamin vessel, has denied any knowledge of the missing parcels of cocaine.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Isaac Aidoo, Darkey told the court that he dealt in the carting of fish from both local and foreign vessels.
The accused person has been charged with conspiracy, importation and exportation of narcotic drugs following his arrest on February 2, 2012, after going into hiding in 2006.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has since been on remand. Darkey was indicted for allegedly paying 3,000 dollars to a detective sergeant to facilitate his escape.
Opening his defence at the Fast Track High Court, Darkey, who described himself as a fisherman, admitted owning a company by name Atico Fisheries, of which he and one Abudulai were co-managers.
He also admitted owning two vessels known as MV Check One and Alavanyo, which he used in his operations.
Darkey told the court, presided over by Mr Justice Habib Logoh, that on April 26, 2006, he was sick and travelled to his home town, Kasseh in the Volta Region.
According to him in January 2006, he got to know the crew members of the MV Benjamin, which also dealt in carting, through one Chawetey, a friend.
Darkey said at a meeting between him and the MV Benjamin crew, he decided to purchase the vessel for 150,000 dollars.
“Although we scheduled the meeting the following day, none of the crew members of MV Benjamin turned up,’’ Darkey said.
When an exhibit (a document) was showed to him, Darkey admitted that it was a loan of GH¢25,000.00 he had secured from the then Unique Trust Financial Services.
Darkey, who was shown a photograph of a Land Cruiser allegedly used in carting some of the parcels of cocaine which he had parked in his brother’s house,
explained that it was his own vehicle which was not in good condition, hence the decision to park the car at his brother’s house.
Answering questions under cross-examination by Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, Principal State Attorney, Darkey admitted that before his arrest he shuttled between Ghana and Togo.
According to him he also moved from Togo to Nigeria where he was receiving treatment because he was suffering from Asthma.
The accused admitted that although he was declared wanted by security agencies in Ghana he did not communicate with any of his relations.
Darkey said one of his vessels got damaged at Guinea Conakry and he wanted MV Benjamin to bring it to Ghana.
When asked how he managed to pay the loan he secured from the then UT Financial Services (now UT Bank), Darkey said he asked his sister to sell a shaft on one of his vessels in order to pay back the loan.
The prosecution’s case is that on April 26, 2006, a vessel, MV Benjamin, reportedly carrying about 76 parcels of cocaine docked at Kpone/Tema and discharged it into a waiting vehicle.
The disappearance of the cocaine led to the constitution of the Georgina Wood Committee and the subsequent trial of persons alleged to have played various roles.