Six persons accused of playing various roles that paved the way for Nayele Ametefeh to carry 12.5 kilogrammes of cocaine to the United Kingdom were discharged by the Accra Circuit Court Tuesday.
The court took the decision after a state prosecutor, Ann Penelope Marmatta, had filed a nolle prosequi.
Nolle prosequi is filed when the prosecution withdraws all charges against accused persons because of lack of evidence to prosecute them.
The six are: Alhaji Mohammed Dawood, a businessman; Sadala Nuhu and Nana Akua Amponsah, both businesswomen; Abiel Ashietey Armah, a Foreign Service officer; Ahmed Abubakar, a protocol officer, and Theophilus Kissi, a civil servant.
Reasons behind decision
Explaining the rationale behind the decision, the court, presided over by Mr Francis Obiri, said it received notice of the state’s intention to discontinue the case about 8:41 a.m. yesterday.
It subsequently struck out the case and discharged the accused.
After their discharge, the six, who were all in court, did not show any visible signs of excitement.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after the ruling, one of the lawyers for the accused persons, Mr Frank Davis, stated that the fact that the six had been arraigned did not mean that they were guilty of the charges preferred against them.
“Our criminal jurisprudence system puts the onus on the prosecution and if you arraign a person you have to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
“There is no burden on the accused persons, so if the state has realised it has no case against the accused persons, the rule of law must prevail,” he stated.
Charges and pleas
The six were arrested on separate dates this year for their alleged roles in the crime, but were refused bail. On January 21, 2015, however, the court threatened to strike out the case for lack of evidence.
That was after state prosecutors had asked for more time to conclude their investigations when the case was called for hearing.
The accused persons were arraigned and charged with aiding the cocaine convict, Ms Ametefeh, to traffic 12.5 kilogrammes of the narcotic substance to the United Kingdom.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges of aiding and abetting crime.
The court admitted them to GH¢100,000 bail each after their lawyers had insisted that their continued detention was unlawful and an abuse of their rights.
Since then, the case had been adjourned many times because state prosecutors informed the court that they were yet to complete their investigations.
Ms Ametefeh, who was busted on November 10, 2014 at the Heathrow International Airport for drug trafficking, is serving an eight-year eight-month prison term, after pleading guilty to the charge of Class A drug trafficking before the Isleworth Crown Court in London.
She will be required to serve half of the term in the UK before she can apply for parole.
Sadala and Nana Akua were alleged to have, on or about November 9, 2014, conspired with Ametefeh, aka Ruby Appiah or Ruby Adu Gyamfi, to export the said narcotic drug to the UK.
According to the prosecution, Armah was, on November 9, 2014, contacted by Alhaji Dawood to facilitate the passage of Ametefeh and the two other ladies through the VIP Lounge at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
It said Armah consequently instructed Abubakar and Kissi to assist the three women.
According to the prosecution, Ametefeh, Sadala and Nana Akua were ushered through the VIP Lounge of the KIA by Abubakar and Kissi to board a British Airways flight to the UK.
Abubakar and Kissi were also alleged to have facilitated departure formalities for the three women and carried their luggage onto the aircraft.
Ametefeh was arrested at the Heathrow Airport after she was found to be in possession of the narcotic drug.
The following day, Sadala, according to the prosecution, flew to Paris and joined a flight to Togo before coming to Ghana.
Nana Akua also came to Ghana later.