General News of Thursday, 20 November 2014
Source: Daily Guide
Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Emmanuel Victor Smith, has dispatched consular officers to see Nayele Ametefeh, the lady arrested with 12 kilos of cocaine at Heathrow Airport in London, UK.
According to the High Commissioner, his office’s attention was drawn to the arrest on Sunday—a week after the event—of Ms Ametefeh, aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi or Angel, who travelled on an Austrian passport.
Victor Smith said he had planned to visit the cocaine suspect, but later backed down and said he would rather send the High Commission’s staff to the detention centre where the cocaine courier was being held for an interaction with her.
NACOB had said in a press release on Monday evening that the suspect “was arrested on the 10th of November, 2014 through the collaborative effort of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and its British partners.”
The statement issued in Accra and signed by NACOB’s Deputy Executive Secretary (E&C) Richard Nii Lante Blankson said that Ms Ametefeh travelled on an Austrian passport and not on a Ghanaian diplomatic passport.
“It is worthy of note that Ms Nayele Ametefeh travelled on an Austrian passport number P4187659 and not on Ghanaian Diplomatic passport, as is being speculated. She also had in her possession an ordinary Ghanaian passport number G0364497 issued on 3rd August, 2012.
“On the 9th of November, 2014, one Ms Nayele Ametefeh boarded British Airways flight number BA 078 from Accra to London. She was arrested at Heathrow International Airport. She had flown on a first class ticket using travel miles on British Airways point. The ticket had been purchased on 8th October, 2014 and had been altered three times,” the statement said.
It added: “In her possession she had two suitcases. Only one of the suitcases was checked in (Baggage tag number BA 059801) and nothing of interest was found. In the other suitcase, which was believed to be hand-carried onto the plane, 10kgs of cocaine was found among her clothing. The cocaine was wrapped in one kilo blocks. In her hand bag, she had further two kilos (blocks).”
VVIP Cocaine Gate
What NACOB did not explain was where the lady, whose cocaine haul was valued at over $5 million, boarded the plane.
Interestingly also, the Akrasi Sarpong-led NACOB statement was silent on which section of the airport Ms Ametefeh had used to board the BA 078 flight.
Sources said she passed through the VVIP section where she frequently used on her travels.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that Ruby used the VVIP facility at Kotoka, reserved for top state officials and important personalities, to board the plane to London, eluding hand-luggage checks at the boarding point where there are two scanners.
Some are speculating that Ruby was driven straight to the tarmac where she boarded the British Airways flight to London.
Victor Smith’s Position
Mr Smith, who granted interviews to various radio stations in Accra, strongly defended the Ghanaian authorities.
He said specifically that “the British authorities never informed us of the lady’s arrest and it was our contact at the Border Control Agency who informed us of the arrest. I then had to gather more information to send to the authorities in Ghana.”
The High Commissioner further said that his checks with the authorities in London revealed that Ms Ametefeh did not travel on a Diplomatic passport.
“There is no Diplomatic Passport involved; that’s categorically denied by the British Police and it is not me who is going to influence them to lie about the passport of the lady. I want it to be established first of all whether she is a Ghanaian because we’ve had cases in the past where our neighbours from the sub-region travelled with a Ghanaian passport.”
He further stated that “I am not confirming that the same name (Nayele Ametefeh) is in the two passports but what I’m saying is that I was given the information that the lady’s name is Nayele Ametefeh and that’s how the journey started in Accra with Austrian passport,” he said on Oman FM.
“I have made arrangements for two of my officers to go with the British Police to interrogate the lady today [yesterday] to come out with the whole truth about her true identity, because the speculations are too much,” he said.
“I have not seen the lady in question yet and so the officers will today unravel the identity of the lady…if she is not a Ghanaian, then we will stay out of the case. I am not basing my findings on speculations in the social media, but rather on the fact from the authorities and if she claims she is also Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, we will put it on record. It is in my interest and Ghana’s to establish whether she is a Ghanaian or not,” he stated.
Ms Ametefeh, who is believed to be using the name Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, was arrested at Heathrow Terminal 5 with the high grade stuff with a street value of about £3.5 million ($5 million) after arriving in London on a British Airways flight from the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, on November 10.
A senior officer with the British anti-narcotics smuggling unit, Border Force, at London Heathrow Mark Owen told Peace FM that it was strange for the suspect to travel through Kotoka with the weight of such narcotic substance (12kg) without being noticed by the Ghanaian authorities, suspecting connivance.
He expressed concern about how the scanners at Kotoka could not track the cocaine in the first place.
Border Force officers also seized £6,063 in cash on her. Ms Ametefeh, 32, was arrested by Border Force and later questioned by investigators from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command and charged with attempting to import a class A drug. She appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 11, and was remanded in custody until her next appearance at Isleworth Crown Court on November 27, 2014.
Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the University of Ghana rubbished the claim by NACOB that it collaborated with the British authorities in the arrest of Ms Ametefe and said the invitation of Citi FM’s Samuel Attah Mensah by the BNI over the publication of the lady’s arrest was totally uncalled for.
“It’s very difficult to imagine the London police saying that there is a crime that is being committed and they know about it in London but they will wait till the person comes to Ghana—because the person is en route to Ghana—so that the Ghanaian authorities apprehend the person. It doesn’t make sense to me. I think if you see somebody with a hand luggage full of cocaine in Ghana…you apprehend the person.”