Let's Get To The Bottom Of This Drug Case

There is widespread agreement in the Ghanaian society that the illegal import and export, as well as local peddling and consumption, of narcotic drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc, are no longer just a threat to the lives of individual users of those drugs but also pose real danger to the peace, order and stability of society. The spectre of the drug menace gaining a foothold in the country can only portend a plethora of undesirable and destructive consequences no well-meaning persons would wish to see. The disgusting examples in countries such as Mexico where drug barons have used billions of dollars of ill-gotten drug money to penetrate and compromise national security to enable those barons to function as a state within a state should not be contemplated, let alone allowed here. With this broad national consensus on combating the drug menace, the last thing we would wish to see is laxity and, worse still, the connivance of state institutions tasked with interpreting and enforcing the law. Only Wednesday, we carried on our front page a story which indicated, among others, that a substance which had earlier been tendered in court by the police as an exhibit and which tested positive for cocaine suddenly changed into sodium carbonate (washing soda) upon another test ordered by the court. Initial impressions created by the report painted a picture of culpability on the part of the police in the bizarre transformation of the cocaine into soda, with attempts made to draw a parallel with the dramatic offloading of huge parcels of cocaine from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters in 2007. However, at a press conference yesterday, the police not only shed light on the matter but actually laid the matter bare for all who have eyes to see and for criminal responsibility for this cocaine transformation to be traced. According to the Director-General of the CID, DCOP Prosper Agblor, the cocaine exhibit, along with evidence of the test confirming it as such, had duly been tendered in evidence at the commencement of the trial. He further explained that during that period, the defence did not raise any objection to the certification of the exhibit tendered as cocaine and that there after the court took custody of the exhibit, implying the police no longer had any responsibility for the exhibit. Without prejudice to the right of the court to dispense justice and the judge to hold the law in his bosom, as is popularly acclaimed, we find the action of the court puzzling, to say the least. Clearly, there are many questions in this matter which raise serious doubts about the integrity of the conduct of the trial which led to the freeing of the suspect who, at a point in time, was so unsure of her chances in the case that she jumped bail. We are happy that the Police Administration, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the government, via a pledge from the Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, have vowed not to let this freeing of a cocaine suspect under highly controversial and dubious circumstances to stand but get to the bottom to ensure that real justice is done.