Of all the dossiers sighted by The Herald, in its ongoing investigations into the arrest of David Kojo Anim for narcotic drug trafficking and money laundering, the roles played by Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide and Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, have been most revealing, especially on the activities of the Le Baron Hotel owner.
The two files, showed how Ghana conveniently failed to effectively nail David Anim in 2003, in the John Agyekum Kufuor era, leading to a huge international embarrassment of the country 11-years later.
Interestingly, it was the same international narcotic drugs fighters in the United Kingdom (UK), whose information Ghanaians blew, who this time arrested, David Anim.
Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, in his capacity as the Minister of Interior in the Kufuor regime, diligently played his role in the arrest of David Anim and got a congratulatory message from the Customs Office of the UK over David’s importation of 42 kilogrammes of cocaine, concealed in 924 sacks of rice from the South American country of Guyana to Tema Habour in September 2003.
The huge drugs, were concealed in two 20-foot containers and audaciously brought to Ghana.
Seven clear years after that arrest, Kweku Baako in his capacity as a journalist, catalogued the drug activities of David Anim in 2010, reminding the State security apparatus about how Mr. Owusu-Agyeman’s diligent role in having David Anim and his two other friends; Joseph Nwabueze, an Amsterdam-based Nigerian businessman and Macdonald Chimanda Vasnani, a Ghanaian shipping agent, nabbed in the 42 kilogramme drug case came to naught.
Kweku Baako, showed how significant leads, names and facts were not followed by those who investigated the arrival of the drugs, as well as those who led the prosecution on behalf of Paapa Owusu-Ankoma, the then Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
The Customs Office of the UK, had through one Mr. Jim Jarvie, Assistant Chief Investigative Officer of the Central Investigations of Her Majesty (HM) Customs in a statement specifically sent to the Minister of The Interior; Mr. Owusu-Agyemang, congratulated Ghana’s Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) for seizing the 42 kilograms of cocaine.
The HM Customs, expressed gratitude for the work of the NACOB that led to the “dismantling of a criminal organization trafficking cocaine to the UK and Western Europe” pointing out that international cooperation was the only way forward for, adding that due to such detections by Officers at the seaports and airports, illicit drug organizations were being dismantled.
However, that effective collaboration that led to the arrest of Joseph Nwabueze (sometimes called Joseph N. W. Abueze), David K. Anim, who is also a shipping agent based in Amsterdam and Accra and Macdonald Chimanda, also said to be a Ghanaian, did not yield any result.
Mr. Kweku Baako in October 2010 wrote, “Whilst investigations into the recent arrest of substances suspected to be cocaine at the Tema Port inch towards its precipice level, several questions remain unanswered in the matter”.
“The most shocking issue bothering curious minds is how Consolidated Shipping Services, the real consignees of the container that was busted at the Port, and also an off-dock terminal operator ‘metamorphosed’ into Formula Plus Africa, and could be cleared by Freight Accord”.
“The CEPS entry shows that the consignment belongs to Formula Plus African whilst the Bill of Lading picked from the Shipping Line (Maersk) revealed that the container belonged to Consolidated Shipping Services”.
Mr. Kweku Baako wondered “whether there was an amendment to that effect, how and who did the amendment are the multimillion unanswered questions that have sparked speculations within security circles”.
“Normally, the Customs Declaration entries are done in the Long Room of the Service so it is possible the underhand dealing might have gone on at the Long Room. As at now we do not know the CEPS official who did the entry because it rotates,” a usually reliable source told this paper (New Crusading Guide) yesterday (Sunday October 24, 2010).
Mr. Kweku Baako’s paper said, it “gathered that Consolidated Shipping Services belongs to one Mr. MacDonald Vasnani, who reports say was embroiled in another cocaine saga seven years ago”.
He gave a historic account saying “on Friday, September 26, 2003, the Daily Graphic newspaper reported on its front page under the headline, ‘3 GRABBED OVER COCAINE IMPORT.’
The paper indicated that “…three persons have been arrested by the Narcotics Control Board and security agencies at the Tema Port for allegedly importing cocaine into the country.”
The suspects, according to the paper, were Macdonald Chimanda Vasnani, Managing Director of Consolidated Shipping Company and Bermac Supplies Ltd; Joseph Nwabueze and David K. Anim, both businessmen based in Amsterdam and Accra respectively.
They were alleged to have conspired and concealed the cocaine in sacks of rice imported from Guyana in South America to Ghana in two 20-footer containers.
Official statement issued by the Ministry of the Interior said, the three were arrested following several months of intelligence work between the NACOB, other security agencies and H.M. Customs of the UK.
The Daily Graphic, had also reported on Saturday, February 21, 2004, under the headline, ‘Suspect Discharged For Lack Of Evidence,’ that “An Accra circuit court has discharged Mr. Macdonald Chimandas Vasnani, the Managing Director of Consolidated Shipping Company, Accra, who was charged for allegedly trafficking in narcotic drugs.
”His discharge followed the prosecution’s submission that it lacked evidence to continue prosecuting him. Mr. Vasnani, who is also the Managing Director of Bermac Shipping Supplies Limited, Accra, was standing trial with Joseph Nwabueze, a self-employed Nigerian and David K. Anim, a Ghanaian shipping agent.”
The paper continued that “the three were alleged to have imported 48 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in a 20-foot container in September last year. They all pleaded not guilty to three counts of importation of narcotic drugs without authority, possessing narcotic drugs without authority and abetment of crime.”
It underscored further, “In his ruling, the presiding judge, Mr. P. K. Aggrey, a tribunal chairman, sitting as an additional circuit court judge, said the prosecution had conceded the lack of evidence against Mr. Vasnani and was asking for his discharge. He said the court had no objection than to grant the prosecution’s request.
”In the circumstances, the charges against Vasnani were struck out for want of prosecution and is discharged accordingly, the trial judge added.
“The facts of the case were that following information from the Customs Liaison Officer in Lagos to the NACOB, the NACOB, in collaboration with H. M. Customs in the UK, mounted joint Control Delivery Operations to track down the suspects.
”A 20-foot container with number PONU364517 on board a vessel called Walurundi loaded with sacks of rice arrived on September 15, 2003. An earlier inspection by UK Customs at Felixstowe, the place where the ship had docked, revealed that the 48 kilogrammes of cocaine had been concealed among the sacks of rice.
“In pursuit of the operations, the NACOB mounted surveillance on the vessel and container. Investigations uncovered that the consignee of the sacks of rice was Bermac Supplies Limited.”
Eleven years after what would have been Ghana helping to dismantle a drug gang, the debate has once again started with the state security apparatus and the judiciary having failed to ensure a better criminal prosecution.
It was unclear whether the then government, deliberately let off David Anim and his colleagues, because he was a financier of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as recently revealed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong.
More to Come!