Matilda Barfour Awuah, Director General of Prisons
One of the three policemen who were jailed 25 years each for their involvement in the infamous MV Benjamin cocaine case was reportedly caught with wee at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons where he is being kept.
A DAILY GUIDE source said the incident occurred last Friday at Annex Block Cell 2, where Lance Corporal Dwamena Yebson was.
According to the source, Yebson is able to make arrangements to get stuff like wee, alcohol and even mobile phones into the highly restricted facility due to his position as ‘National Leader’ of the prisoners and has been engaging in such illegal activities for a long time.
The source said the contrabands are mostly included in authorised stuff brought into the prisons.
Yebson reportedly receives tacit support from some of the senior officers at the facility and as a result does not respect some of the junior officers.
The source said when he was caught with the wee he later called all the leaders in the prisons to calm their nerves because he claimed some of the officers were going to ‘rescue’ him.
When reached via telephone, Vitalis Aiyeh, Chief Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service, said no report of that nature had come to the attention of the Headquarters in Accra.
‘I don’t know of anybody like this and you know Nsawam has three thousand plus prisoners so I have to cross-check. I just tried Nsawam and I did not get the officer in charge,’ he said.
He said he was attending some radio programmes and could not readily find out.
When the reporter said he would call later for confirmation, he said: ‘Why not just contact Nsawam? You can just go there for your side of investigations. From where I sit, it is difficult for me to know the details.’
When told Nsawam is a restricted area and one would need clearance from the Headquarters in Accra, the Chief PRO said ‘then you have to write to seek clearance. That is the right thing. You write and you are cleared to go and do it.’
‘Right now what I have just told you is what I know. If you call anytime and I have the details I will give them to you but sometimes it is also difficult for me to go investigating these things. If you want to really go in there why not? You can write and come,’ he added.
In 2007 Yebson, together with General Sergeant David Nyarko and General Lance Corporal Peter Bondorin, each received 25 years in jail from an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Anin Yeboah who is currently with the Supreme Court. Bondorin later died in prison.
A fourth policeman, Detective Sergeant Samuel Amoah, is still on the run. He jumped bail granted him and his accomplices by an Accra Regional Tribunal.
In April 2006, they were said to have aided Sheriff Asem Darkey, the prime suspect in the disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine on board MV Benjamin, to escape arrest.
In July 2008, the same judge convicted and sentenced Joseph Kojo Dawson, the owner of MVBenjamin and Managing Director of Dashment Company Limited; Isaac Arhin, a sailor; Phillip Bruce Arhin, a mechanic; Cui Xian Li, the vessel engineer; Luo Yui Xing, a sailor and all crew members of MV Benjamin to 25 years’ imprisonment each with hard labour.
Bruce Arhin, however, died about three weeks after his conviction.
A sixth accused person, Pak Bok Sil, a Korean, was on October 16, 2007 acquitted and discharged by the court which had held, during a ruling on a submission of ‘no case’, that the prosecution had failed to prove a case against him. His lawyer was James Agalga, the current deputy Minister of the Interior.
Last year, Christian Sheriff Asem Darkey, the man at the centre of the shipment and disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine, was also sentenced to a total of 22 years’ imprisonment with hard labour by the Accra Fast Track High Court.
The MV Benjamin, reportedly carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine, with each parcel weighing 30 kilogrammes, docked at Kpone near Tema and discharged the parcels.
The parcels were offloaded into a waiting vehicle and the three policemen who had a tip-off in Tema rushed to the Kpone beach and got help from another policeman (Bondorin). But instead of arresting Asem Darkey, they followed him with the cocaine back to Tema where they were all given $10,000 each.
Darkey was said to be the person who had chartered the vessel at a cost of US$150,000 to tow another vessel from Guinea to Ghana and subsequently carted the 77 parcels of cocaine.
The disappearance of the cocaine led to the setting up of the Justice Georgina Wood Committee and the subsequent trial of persons alleged to have played various roles in the importation.
By William Yaw Owusu
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