January 31, 2012 (Page 3 Lead)
The Human Rights Division of the Fast Track High Court, yesterday ordered the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to produce Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mrs Gifty Mawuenyegah Tehoda, who is at the centre of the cocaine-turn-sodium carbonate saga at its sitting tomorrow (January 31, 2012).
The court’s order followed the failure of BNI officials to bring the accused person to court as was required by law.
Counsel for Mrs Tehoda, Mr E. A. Vordoagu informed the court of the frustrations the defence team encountered anytime they visited their client at the BNI cells.
According to him, although, BNI officials had been served with hearing notices, they refused to bring their client to court as well as made it impossible for the defence team to have access to her.
Mrs Tehoda, the Deputy Head of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, has applied for bail at the Human Rights Court presided over by Mr Justice Kofi Essel-Mensah.
Mrs Tehoda, has been remanded by the Accra Circuit Court on one count of abetment of stealing of cocaine but her lawyers applied for bail on her behalf at the Human Rights Court.
At the Human Rights Court’s sitting in Accra today, a Chief State Attorney, Mr Rexford Wiredu, prayed the court to adjourn the case to Wednesday because he was out of the jurisdiction and upon return was informed his outfit was served with a copy of Mrs Tehoda’s bail application last Friday.
Mr Vordoagu opposed Mr Wiredu’s plea with the court and said the Attorney-General’s office had sufficient notice and for that reason, the court should ignore Mr Wiredu’s plea.
Responding to Mr Vordoagu’s submission, Mr Wiredu argued that the defence team’s bail application was badly written thereby causing the court to dismiss it on Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
The court, after listening to both parties, ordered the BNI to produce Mrs Tehoda tomorrow (January 31, 2012).
Mrs Tehoda on January 17, 2012 pleaded not guilty to one count of abetment of stealing of cocaine and was remanded by the Circuit Court to reappear on February 6, 2012.
The police handed the accused person over to the BNI on December 29, 2011 on suspicious dealings with Nana Ama Martins after she (Nana Martins) had been re-arrested in July 2011.
Nana Martins was acquitted and discharged by the Accra Circuit Court of the charge of possessing cocaine in the trial which was aborted after the court had upheld a submission of ‘no case’ made by her counsel.
Following that, the Vice-President, Mr John Mahama, tasked the BNI to investigate the incident.
The investigation led to the arrest of the accused for her role in the swapping of the cocaine.
Although, her unit was not investigating Nana Martins for any offence, DSP Mrs Tehoda allegedly went for the suspect on different occasions from CID cells and took her to her office and also arranged a lawyer for her.
The trial circuit court had, in September last year, received the alleged cocaine, weighing 1,020 grammes, as exhibit after it had been tested by the Police Forensic Laboratory.
A day after that, counsel for Nana Martins prayed that the substance be retested because it was not cocaine, as alleged by the police report. The re-testing was done and it turned out to be sodium carbonate.
It was during BNI investigations that it came to light that DSP Mrs Tehoda played a role in the swapping of the cocaine and also assisted Nana Martins to sell her house, all to facilitate the swapping.
The prosecution said investigations were still ongoing to identify the collaborators of DSP Mrs Tehoda.