DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda

E.A. Vordoagu, counsel for DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, the police officer standing trial for allegedly playing a key role in the cocaine turning soda case, yesterday prayed an Accra Circuit Court to discharge his client because the prosecution was not ready to commerce the case.

This was after Rexford Wiredu, the state attorney, had prayed the court presided over by Mrs. Audrey Kocuvie-Tay for more time to enable him to bring his witnesses and start with hearing.

Mr. Wiredu, who was reported sick for some time, informed the court when the case was called that he was not ready to start because his witnesses would be ready by April 20.

Counsel for the accused person then submitted that his client should be discharged because the prosecution had no case against her.

Counsel argued that for eight weeks now, the prosecution had been unable to produce before the court, witnesses the prosecution claimed it would use to testify against his client.

Counsel observed that the prosecution was at the cost of “myself, my client and other interested parties. Accused is affected by the case as she has been interdicted”.

Mr. Wiredu however objected to this application, stating, “It is bad and awkward for an accused on bail to be discharged. This will only cause for her re-arrest. The AG has nothing to do with her interdiction but solely to do with the police.”

According to him, the state brought the accused to court so the defence could not tell the prosecution what to do.

Counsel therefore said, “I believe at the next adjourned date the prosecution will be up to the task. We are ready to do serious business and we need to demonstrate that to the court”.

Mr. Vordoagu prayed the court that if at the next adjourned date the state did not start with the case, the accused should be discharged.

The trial judge, before she adjourned the matter to April 20, indicated that she would want an expeditious trial, adding that even if it had to be a day-to-day affair, she was ready.

Mr. Wiredu, presenting the facts on February 6, narrated that on September 28, 2011, Kwabla Senanu, counsel for Nana Ama Martins, a woman accused of dealing in narcotics, objected to a substance believed to be the said cocaine and prayed the court for a retesting.

The trial judge, Eric Kyei Baffour, agreed and when the substance was re-tested, it turned out to be sodium bicarbonate- baking soda.

Mr. Wiredu informed the court that the BNI began investigations into the soda cocaine following the directive by the Vice President for investigations into how the 1,020 grammes of cocaine turned into baking soda.

The investigations, according to the prosecutor, revealed that DSP Tehoda, deputy head of the Commercial Crime Unit at the CID headquarters, knew about the swapping of the substance and also knew Nana Ama.

Mr Wiredu said the police officer arranged for a lawyer for the cocaine suspect and allegedly met with Nana Ama Martins a dozen times while she was in custody and also after her subsequent release when the stuff changed to baking soda.

Explaining further, Mr. Wiredu said he would lead evidence to show that one Mr. Yankah and Serwah Gyaabah, an uncle and sister of Ama Martins respectively, told a witness in the case that with the help of DSP Tehoda, they had been able to turn the cocaine into soda, after the trial judge refused to take GH¢5,000 they had wanted to bribe him with.

The witness allegedly explained that the relatives wanted to give the judge and one Lawal, the court clerk, GH¢4,000 andGH¢1,000 respectively.

This allegation, according to the prosecutor, was confirmed by one Beatrice Naab, a family member of Ama Martins who asked the witness to keep her mouth shut and not tell anyone the role played by DSP Mawuenyega and others involved.

Mr. Wiredu said DSP Tehoda told Nana Ama Martins’ lawyer that they had managed to swap the cocaine and that at the trial, he should request a re-test. This instruction was followed by the lawyer and true to her words, the cocaine turned soda.

He said the DSP jubilated in her office when she heard of the release of Nana Ama Martins.

“This enterprise of swapping of cocaine turning into soda was facilitated by accused and so she has been charged.”

In response, Mr. Vordoagu objected strongly to the prosecution’s facts, saying they were all hearsay.

Counsel, who termed the prosecution’s action as “malicious prosecution”, indicated that the prosecution was only desperate and bent on persecuting the DSP because the facts could not be substantiated in material aspect.

By Mary Anane

View the original article here

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