Nayele Ametefe aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi
The Isleworth Crown Court yesterday gave its verdict on the infamous Ruby cocaine scandal, convicting the lady at the centre of the case, Nayele Ametefe aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, for attempting to smuggle 12kg of cocaine into the United Kingdom (UK).
Ruby was subsequently handed a sentence in prison custody of eight years, eight months on her own guilty plea.
As Ruby got convicted, her properties in Ghana including a mansion at East Legon are being considered for confiscation by the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).
Her alleged accomplices, who travelled with her to London and are facing trial in Accra, are said to be ready to sing like canaries about who facilitated the trip when they appear in court today, a source told DAILY GUIDE .
Ruby was busted at the Heathrow Airport in London on Monday, November 10, 2014 for attempting to smuggle 12kg of substances suspected to be cocaine into that country with a value of over $3 million—a charge she pleaded guilty to.
Ruling was deferred to Monday, January 5, 2015 to enable the prosecution finalise its investigations into the case, but it was again adjourned to yesterday.
Ruby was said to have arrived in the court at 11:35am after which the case was called for hearing.
Presiding judge Martin Edmunds then asked the accused to confirm her identity, to which she obliged.
Ruby appeared in court well dressed and looked indifferent when the sentence was handed down.
An aggressive family member of the convicted drug baroness attacked some members of the press outside the court after the sentence was pronounced.
She was also said to have confirmed having an amount of $23,000 and an additional £6,000 on her on the day of her arrest, opening a fresh case of suspected money laundering for which the state is pressing charges.
Prosecutors were reported to have told the court that the drugs the lady carried tested 78% pure cocaine and with a street value of £1.872 million (approximately $3 million).
Yesterday, a new lawyer represented Ruby who put in a plea for mitigation of the sentence for lesser years on grounds that the accused had no knowledge that the substance she was carrying was cocaine.
In addition, she and her family wrote personal letters to the court for consideration of sentence.
Ruby told the packed court she was approached by a certain business woman, whose name her lawyer refused to disclose, to deliver the goods to another person she also refused to name in the UK.
Even though she claimed it was her first time and she accepted responsibility, the presiding judge was unfazed by the pleadings.
She was said to be sending the drugs to the Dominican Republic in South America and that she was scheduled to leave the United Kingdom for that country two days after her arrival.
In asking for further mitigation, the lawyer claimed the convict was from a poor home, a single mother with three children aged 16, 13 and 11, who are now the responsibility of her mother in Accra.
He further narrated that Ruby’s marriage hit the rocks since 2004 when she divorced her husband whom she had married when she was just 16 years old, and has since been a single parent taking care of the three children.
Along the line, the lawyer said she came into contact with powerful people in the country which resulted in her high-flying lifestyle, resulting in her extensive travels abroad with key and influential persons in the Ghanaian society.
According to him, she was therefore forced by circumstances to make a mistake by smuggling drugs to sustain her high-flying lifestyle and to take care of her three children.
The lawyer further narrated that Ruby got her Austrian passport because her father lived in Austria and she with her mother and two siblings lived there for a while.
He submitted that the story of the convict had been plastered all over the Ghanaian media and she would find it difficult returning to the West African country after her sentence. He suggested Ruby will relocate to Austria since she is a citizen there.
Furthermore, the lawyer for Ruby told the court she came from an underprivileged home and married a spare parts dealer at Ghana’s famous spare-parts market, Abossey Okai.
According to the lawyer, the convict came into contact with powerful politicians after her divorce with her husband in 2004 and her life changed dramatically. She travelled extensively with influential people as their companion.
The lawyer said Ruby had remained connected to powerful politicians who are currently in power in Ghana.
After listening to both prosecution and defence counsel, the court convicted the 32-year-old to eight years and eight months’ imprisonment.
She has to serve at least half of the term before she can be eligible for parole.
Even though the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sought to distance itself from having any connections with the lady at the centre of the drug case, a member of the party, who has since been identified as Peter Oti, stormed the court yesterday clad in NDC colours in solidarity with Ruby.
Ruby appeared in court well dressed and looked indifferent when the sentence was handed down. She came in with black inner and a beige top. She had a fringe Brazilian hair on; but had darkened skin.
Ruby first pleaded guilty to the charge of fraudulently importing some 12kg of cocaine in a hearing that lasted barely five minutes.
Her guilty plea came as a surprise to many including state prosecutor Revinden Johal, who was present in court when the case came up for hearing, since according to him, ‘I was shocked to see so many people come to find out or to learn or to some connection (sic) to the accused and it was sad that not all of them could get into court to witness what is quite an amazing case; the sheer speed at which the arrest took place and suddenly we find someone pleading guilty two weeks later.’
The lady however did not make any disclosures with regard to names of her possible accomplices or who sent her with the narcotic drugs and who she was sending the substance to in the UK.
Big Names Drop
Two other ladies who travelled together with her to London on that ‘journey of no return’, Sadalia Nuhu and Nana Akua Amponsah, and four others connected to the case including Alhaji Dawood Mohammed who arranged the VVIP passage for the suspects, were arrested in Ghana and later granted bail after being put before an Accra Circuit Court.
They are appearing before an Accra Circuit Court today and sources told DAILY GUIDE that names of high profile individuals who are connected with Ruby’s trip to London are likely to be mentioned if their trial begins today.
It has emerged that she and her friends with whom she travelled to the UK on that fateful day were allowed to use the VVIP section at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as stated on the charge sheet for the prosecution of her friends back home in Ghana, even though government and its assigns claimed it was rather the VIP section.
Ruby Adu-Gyamfi and her alleged gang of cocaine smugglers used the highly restricted Very Very Important Personality (VVIP) section of the Kotoka International Airport, reserved for the President and his top ministers, to board Flight BA078 to London on November 9.
NACOB Goes For Ruby House
NACOB officials on Monday evening stormed the residence of Ruby Adu-Gyamfi at East Legon in Accra to begin the process of confiscating the property as they engaged in a scuffle with the family.
The NACOB officials, according to sources, had gone to the East Legon residence of the suspect to post a Seizure Notice.
The mother of Ruby allegedly prevented the NACOB officials from posting the notice on the property. She is also alleged to have assaulted an official of the agency.
The pink-painted five-bedroom apartment is believed to be one of Ruby’s numerous properties scattered all over Accra.
A case of assault has been lodged against Ruby’s mother at the Airport police station.
Airport Police Commander Superintendent Yao Tettehgah told Joy Fm that the assault occurred when the NACOB official went to post seizure notices on the property believed to belong to Ruby.
Unhappy with the decision, and resisting the posting of the confiscation notice, Ruby’s mother attacked the NACOB official.
The mother was angered by attempts to take photographs of the building.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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