The verdict was delivered by the High Court in Accra, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, after a thorough trial in a significant legal development.
5 businessmen arrested with cocaine at KIA sentenced to 60 years imprisonment
Five businessmen who were apprehended at Kotoka International Airport in 2019 over the importation of 2,200 grams of cocaine have been convicted and collectively sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The convicted individuals are identified as Frank Asante (First Accused), Kweku Antwi (2nd Accused, currently on the run after jumping bail), Alhassan Iddrisu (3rd Accused), Clifford Boakye (4th Accused), and Isaac Kwakye (5th Accused).
EIB Network Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, reported that the court found them guilty on three counts: conspiracy to commit a crime, namely possession of a narcotic; importation of narcotic drugs; and possession of narcotic drugs. The minimum punishment of 10 years each was imposed on all the convicts under the old Narcotics Control Law PNDC law 236, which has since been amended by Act 1019.
Justice Osei Marfo justified the application of the old law by stating, "I am satisfied that, (under) the old law, the punishment for the offenses they have been charged with is lesser in severity than the new law in the same offense." She further emphasized the constitutional provisions under Article 19(6) of the Constitution, which influenced the court's decision.
The court considered mitigation factors presented by defense lawyers and the conduct of the convicts during bail and trial. While the four present in court will serve their sentences concurrently, Kweku Antwi, the 2nd Accused who is currently at large, will serve his punishment consecutively upon arrest.
Asante and Antwi were separately sentenced to 10 years each for the importation of narcotic drugs. The remaining four will serve 10 years concurrently for charges of conspiracy and possession of a narcotic.
Brief Facts of the Case:
The Intelligence Unit of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) uncovered that Frank Asante and his accomplices were importing and dealing in narcotic substances from Brazil and other countries.
Surveillance revealed several instances of their activities, including handovers of suspicious substances. The final arrest occurred in July 2019 when Antwi arrived from Brazil carrying suspected narcotic drugs. Subsequent investigations led to the discovery of 2,200 grams of cocaine hidden in backpacks.
The substances were analyzed by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), confirming their identity as cocaine with an 82.5% purity and a net weight of 2,200 grams. Additional items, such as ripped backpacks, weighing scales, passports, and gallons containing liquid substances, were found during searches at the residences of the accused and their vehicles.
The court's decision to apply the old law reflects a careful consideration of legal provisions, ensuring a fair and just punishment for the convicted individuals.
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