By Edmund Mingle
Monday, 03 March 2008
THE independent panel set up to investigate the circumstances leading to the alleged substitution of narcotic drug exhibits at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters, has requested extension of its deadline to enable it to finish its work, a source close to the committee has said.
The five member panel, was inaugurated in Accra on Friday, February 1, by the Interior Minister, Kwamena Bartels, and was given up to the end of the month to present its report.
The Times learned that the extension was needed to enable the panel to round up its investigations into the matter.
Chaired by Kojo Armah, MP for Evalue-Gwira, the panel was tasked to uncover the perpetrators, and recommend punishment for the offenders and to suggest measures to prevent a recurrence. It is also looking into the replacement of some of the substances in custody with other substances and the extent of the replacement.
The sources told the Times that various police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department have appeared before the panel for questioning while the Ghana Standards Board has undertaken a text of the narcotic substances at the exhibits room.
When the new Director-General of the CID, DCOP Adu Poku, took over about four months ago, he ordered an audit of the exhibits in the Narcotics Exhibits Room, located on the sixth floor of the CID headquarters.
The Ghana Standards Board was consequently invited to retest all the parcels in the room, which had been tested previously and sealed.
A test of the first 50 kilos revealed a six per cent substitution of cocaine with other substances that look like cocaine and the alarming discovery was reported by the Police Administration to the Interior Ministry, upon which the minister ordered the arrest of all officers who have access to the room.
Following that order, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Patrick Akakpo, who was in charge of the Narcotics Exhibits Room, was arrested.
The room, which was under 24-hour armed guard with a close-circuit television, was also locked with new keys and sealed to ensure that no one goes in to tamper with the exhibits during investigations.
The other members are Mark Ewuntomah of the Narcotics Control Board, S.A. Afari, a past National Security Coordinator, Kwasi Nkansah, a retired Commissioner of Police, and Jacob J. Yidana of the Ministry of the Interior.