The Police Administration has stated that DSP Patrick Akagbo, the exhibits room storekeeper, must be held responsible for the missing parcels of cocaine from the police exhibits store at the Police Headquarters in Accra.

According to them Akagbo was the officer who had the ‘bunch of keys’ to the storeroom where the exhibits were kept, and even when he went on leave the keys remained in his possession.

Speaking to DAILY GUIDE in an exclusive interview at its Nima Office, the Police said Akagbo was handed the keys after the drugs had been inspected, itemized, tested and re-parceled by officials of the Ghana Standards Board.

At the end of this evaluation 67 cartons of seized cocaine were left in his custody.

Incidentally, at the time the theft was discovered the exhibit room was not broken into, neither were the windows to the sixth floor store tampered with.

“The cocaine was in a secure environment with an officer tasked to ensure its safety,” an officer said.

Speaking to the paper on the issue, the Director of Police Public Affairs, DSP Kwesi Ofori, stated that contrary to media speculation and reports only one box containing 30 book-sized slabs and 12 slabs from another box were stolen and/or swapped with ordinary flour.

“One box was completely missing, and the other was cut with an instrument and the 12 slabs taken out,” he revealed.

The Police Public Relations Boss noted that of the 67 cartons seized from Prampram two years ago, 65 cartons are intact at the CID headquarters.

He stressed that even though only 2.13 percent of the 1,910 kilograms of the seized drugs had been stolen the police administration would leave no stone unturned in its bid to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We are not wishing it off by saying it is an insignificant quantity. In fact, every single gram that cannot be accounted for is very significant and must be investigated.

We only want to set the records straight and disabuse the minds of a section of the public that several trucks full of cocaine were carted away without police detection,” he said.

He said it was with that zeal to get those responsible for the theft brought to book that the service initiated action on the matter soon after the Kojo Armah Committee submitted its report and recommendation.

He denied rumours that the police administration had something to hide from the public, adding that the purpose of the May 5, 2008 facility tour of the exhibit room, from which the drugs got missing, for media practitioners was to correct the misleading information being churned out.

“Apart from giving that opportunity to the media, to have a first-hand feel of the store, the facility tour was in line with the Open-Door-Policy of the administration. Unfortunately, some reporter, who might have some sinister motives, failed to report what they saw,” he said.

DSP Ofori revealed that it was the Police that called for an audit of the store, informed the Interior Minister of the audit finding, and cooperated with the Kojo Armah Committee all through its sittings.

He contended that the committee would not have gone that far if the Police had something to hide from it.

He revealed that the IGP, Mr. P.K. Acheampong, in line with his avowed determination to fight the drug menace, had in 2005 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Embassy in Ghana to set up a new exhibit store for the Ghana Police.

“The police will continue to be at the forefront of fighting the drug war locally and also cooperate with other international agencies to fight it on a global scale,” he concluded.

In a related development DAILY GUIDE has gathered that based upon the recommendations of the Kojo Armah Committee to investigate the conduct of the head of the Organized Crime Unit of the Police Service, Chief Superintendent Alphonse Adu-Amankwa, and Detective Chief Inspector Paul Brenya Bediako, another official, the IGP had constituted a three-man body to start investigations.

The body, currently sitting at the Police Depot (College?) in Accra, is headed by Mr. P.N. Cobinna, a retired Commissioner of CID. Other members are COP (Mrs.) Joana Osei Poku, Director-General, Police Human Resource Development, and ACP Daniel J. Avorgah, MTTU Commander.

The In-House Committee, which, according to DSP Ofori, is doing a proactive assignment, is expected to submit its report by May 26, 2008.

The Kojo Armah Committee was formed on 1st February, 2008, when it was realized that part of the 67 cartons of cocaine seized from some drug barons at Ningo/Prampram in the Dangme West District on May 21, 2006 by the Prampram District Police Command, had disappeared.

This was after a Benz bus, being driven by a Nigerian, was intercepted.

After sitting for nearly six weeks and hearing 48 witnesses, including 5 police officers, the committee came out with an 88-page report, which eventually failed to pinpoint who actually was responsible for the theft of the drug.

It however recommended that the keeper of the exhibit store, DSP Patrick Akagbo of the Violent Crime Unit be prosecuted, while Chief Superintendent Adu-Amankwa is to be investigated.

Among the officers questioned was David Asante-Apeatu, ex-director of CID and currently the Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, INTERPOL.

Meanwhile, Nana Obiri Boahen, Minister of State at the Interior Ministry, has also frowned at the manner in which selected portions of the Committee Report were being published in sections of the media.

He has as well disagreed with the Police hierarchy for the setting up of the Cobbina Committee, wondering which task it was set up to perform, since the Attorney General was already studying the Kojo Armah report and would soon come up with its recommendations.

Speaking on the selective leakage of the report, the minister said, while it was not wrong for people to obtain copies, there was the danger that the publications would be out of context and therefore send wrong signals to the general public.

He contended that since the report was still being considered by the A-G’s office, it was inappropriate to engender public debate based on bits and pieces of it, stressing that the opportune time for informed public debate would be after a White Paper had been issued.

DSP Patrick Akagbo, who had since January 28, 2008 been in detention following the theft was grated bail last Thursday on health grounds.

Source: Daily Guide

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