General News of Wednesday, 7 January 2015
A lawyer and a former senior Crown Prosecutor in the United Kingdom (UK), Godwin Adjei-Gyamfi, has criticised the performance of the prosecutor and the investigator in the Nayele Ametefeh cocaine case saying that he “could have done better.”
Nayele Ametefeh was sentenced to 8 years and 8 months in jail on Tuesday, by a court in London, after being found guilty of carrying cocaine into the country.
But the former prosecutor believes that the prosecution’s performance might have contributed to the sentence that was handed down to the defendant in the case.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the prosecutor and the investigator did not do a yeoman’s job. You would have expected that the prosecutor would have at least investigated her background to assess whether she has any assets. You would have expected the investigator to have communicated with the authorities in Ghana, prior to her being arraigned. The whole case could have been investigated much much better, which, in my mind would have increased the sentence,” he said.
He, however, believes that the sentence given by the judge to Ms Ametefeh was fair but admitted that the defense put out by her lawyer may have influenced the judge’s final decision.
“Her lawyer put forward that she is a vulnerable person because she has companions in the ruling elite and therefore could not go back to Ghana. He also said that she has been duped by powerful people. She also talked about her children. The judge indicated that he found her to have played a significant role [instead of a leading role] and had she gone to trial, she would have received a sentence of 13 years,” he explained.
He noted that the starting point for sentencing a person who played a significant role in such a crime is “11 years with a category range of nine to thirteen years. “One would receive one-third of the 13 off, which would work out to be about 9 years. If you take the nine years less the personal circumstances that her lawyer stated, it works out to be the right sentence that the judge has given.”
Nayele Ametefeh’s sentence includes community service and it is expected that she will serve half of her sentence in jail.
The forensic analysis on the cocaine showed a 79% purity and the street value is estimated at about 1.8 million Pounds.
She admitted in her first appearance via video link that she is guilty of the charges leveled against her; carrying cocaine into the UK.
Nayele reportedly also had in her possession, £23,000 and $6,000 when she was arrested, which is currently in the custody of the UK Border Agency, but the court is expected to set a new date to rule on the exact amount of money she had on her.
The UK government will officially confiscate the said amount of money by July 6, 2015.
The cocaine saga
November 16, 2014: News broke of Nayele Ametefeh’s arrest at London’s Heathrow airport in November for cocaine possession.
November 17, 2014: Government denies claim that Nayele was carrying a diplomatic passport when she was arrested.
November 17, 2014: Following the publication of the story by Citi FM, the Managing Director of the station, Samuel Attah-Mensah, was invited for questioning by BNI.
November 22, 2014: President John Mahama dissolves the governing board of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).
November 23, 2014: Nine people arrested in connection with cocaine bust.
November 24, 2015: Director at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abiel Ashitey Armah, arrested.
November 25, 2014: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Tetteh reveals that Nayele thought she was carrying gold in her hand luggage rather than cocaine.
November 27, 2014: Nayele pleads guilty to all the charges leveled against her in a court in London.
November 30, 2014: Two female accomplices of Nayele were remanded in police custody by the Accra Circuit Court for allegedly conspiring with the suspect.
December 2, 2014: Alhaji Mohammed Alamid Dawood, was arrested for allegedly aiding Nayele Ametefe and her two friends to use the VIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport(KIA) in Accra, to transport cocaine.
December 8, 2014: A Ghanaian Times Reporter, Edem Mensah was physically assaulted by family members and friends of Nayele’s accomplices in court.
January 6, 2015: Nayele is sentenced to 8 years and 8 months in prison by the UK court.