A man who was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) after confessing to the Narcotics Control Commission officers of swallowing pellets of Narcotics drugs has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In addition to the custodial sentence, Kwadwo Ofosu, who changed his earlier not-guilty plea to guilty, will pay a fine of 10,000 penalty units equivalent to GHc120,000.
A penalty unit in the Criminal Offenses law is equivalent to GHc12.
The accused was convicted on his own plea by the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.
He was charged with seven of the eight counts which comprised of two counts of Possession of Narcotics drug weighing 594.8 grams (Count 1) and 411.6 grams, (Count 2), two counts of attempted exportation of narcotics drug, (Counts 3&4), a count of bribery of a public official with an amount of 300 euros (Count 6) and two counts of conspiracy to export narcotics drugs, (Counts 7&8).
The court after listening to the plea of mitigation from the defence lawyers led by Lawyer Paul Abariga and the non-opposition from the prosecution led by Watkins Adamah, a State Attorney the court handed the convict with the minimum punishment.
The court explained that per the charges, the minimum punishment for a fine ranges from not less than 10,000 penalty units (GHc120k) and not more than 25000 penalty units (GHc300k).
The court said that punishment also includes an additional custodial sentence between 10 years and 25 years.
With that in mind, the court sentenced the accused to a fine of 10,000 penalty units which is equivalent to (GHc120, 000) and 10 years custodial sentence on each of the seven charges.
The sentence the court said should be conservative which means, the convict will serve double punishment that is pay the fine of GHc120k and also serve a 10-years jail term.
The convict would serve a mandatory three year custodial sentence should he default in paying the fine.
The court said all the sentences on the seven charges are to run concurrently meaning, the convict will only pay GHc120k fine and serve 10 years for all the 7 charges he admitted.
Haruna Moro, who is the second accused person is facing a charge of bribery of a public official with GHc6,000 and is said to have submitted a request to the prosecution for plea bargaining.
The case has been adjourned to April 17.
Per the brief facts of the case presented to the court by Watkins Adamah, a State Attorney, the first accused person, Kwadwo Fosu is a Ghanaian resident in Spain.
Whilst, the 2nd accused person, Haruna Moro resides in Teshie, a suburb of Accra.
Mr Adamah said, on September 15, 2021, the 1st accused person (now convict) arrived at the Kotoka International Airport to board Tap Portugal flight bound for Spain.
According to him, during departure formalities, the 1st accused person was stopped for profiling by officers of the Narcotic Control Commission (NACOC).
He said, in the course of the profiling, the 1st accused voluntarily confessed to the officers of NACOC that he had ingested narcotic drugs which were given to him by persons he only mentioned their names as Olu and Abu, currently at large.
According to him, the accused said he met Olu and Abu through one Felix Busia, also at large, who introduced him to the narcotics trade.
He said the 1st accused was to deliver the narcotic drugs to a brother of Olu in Spain for a fee of two thousand Euros (€2000)
The State Attorney said, “the Ist accused person paid an amount of three hundred Euros (€300) to the officers of NACOC so they would release him to continue with his travel.”
He added that “the 1st accused person was made to call Olu to say that the officers of NACOC were demanding a further one thousand US dollars ($1000.00) before he would be released.”
The State Attorney noted “with the phone on speaker, Olu stated that he would send his brother with the money and described the clothes the said brother was wearing and where he should be met at the Airport.”
He said the 2nd accused person, “just as described by Olu arrived at the airport about 10 minutes later and met with officers of NACOC.”
“He handed over an amount of six thousand cedis (GHc6000.00) to officers of NACOC as the cedi equivalent of the one thousand US dollars demanded so that the 1st accused person would be released by NACOC to enable him travel to Spain with the narcotic drugs,” he told the court.
He said, “the 2nd accused person was arrested when he tried to leave the airport after handing over the money to officials of NACOC.”
Expelled pellets of substance
He said after his arrest, “the 2nd accused person denied giving any money to any official of NACOC.”
Mr Adamah said, “the 1st accused person was put under observation and he expelled sixty-eight (68) pellets containing powdery substances which were forwarded to the Ghana Standards Authority for examination.”
He said by a report dated October 11, 2021, from the Ghana Standards Authority, 40 of the pellets tested positive for heroin with a percentage purity of 20.2.
The State Attorney stated that the remaining twenty-eight pellets tested positive for cocaine with a percentage purity of 36.9.