Four Ghanaian nationals in Kurdistan, a province of Iraq, are facing a death penalty for trafficking into the country food items suspected to be laced with narcotics.
The four suspects – Bismark Appiah popularly known as Osofo, Evans Akoto known in the community as Agala, who are both natives of Offinso in the Ashanti Region are in custody together with Naomi Osei Serwaa and Grace Tiwaah.
They were picked up on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 by a Kurdish security organization and primary intelligence agency called Asayish.
According to Angel FM’s sources, the suspects whose fate still hangs in the balance were picked up after they were informed about the arrival of their goods in the country by an agency in Iraq.
Richard Osei, a Ghanaian resident in Kurdistan told Kofi Adoma Nwanwani on Angel FM’s Anɔpa Bɔfoɔ that the four suspects ordered that some Ghanaian local food items be bought and shipped to them in Kurdistan.
These include powdered fufu, yam, cassava dough, powdery pepper, cassava powder (Konkonte), meat and baked clay known locally as “Shile”.
These items mentioned according to him were packed into boxes numbering about 10 which cost GH₵150.00 per a 23 kilogram (kg).
The fees for the goods were paid to the shipping agent in Ghana whose name was given as Alhaji.
In all Alhaji was paid GH₵1500.00 for the ten boxes before the goods were transported to Kurdistan.
They were sent through some five women who were travelling to the destination.
These five women were under the authority of an employment agency which regulated their activities including making provisions for their accommodations in the country.
Accordingly, the items which were transited through these women were delivered at the employment agency from where the owners would pick them up.
The agency, having taking delivery of the goods and called the rightful owners to take receipt of the items, charged a total of $170 for them; an amount which according to Mr. Osei was not paid by the suspects.
According him, they refused to pay the money owing to the amount already paid to Alhaji in Ghana for the transportation of the packages.
Their refusal to pay the $170.00 which was charged by the agency infuriated its agents and forced them to invite the Asayish security to intervene, at which point the boxes containing the food substances were seized.
The intelligence agency’s investigations and testing of the food items revealed that some narcotic substances were allegedly hidden in the packages. This led to the arrest of the four persons.
Mr. Osei further noted that some influential Ghanaians in the Kurdistan community were contacted to intervene for the four persons.
“Usually when people are found to be in contempt of the law, Elder Richard and Pastor Theo who are Pentecost Church Pastors in the Kurdistan province intervene to help release victims, but this one they were nearly arrested for pursuing the case,”he said.
He added that a Lawyer who was also contacted to help in the fight withdrew his services because of some “evidences that were gathered against him and for the fact that he represents a renowned church in the province”.
However, another Lawyer who was recommended for the victims and their families is expected to meet with the family and sympathizers at 16:00 hours after being filled in with the information about the events surrounding their arrest.
The two ladies involved have been remanded into police custody at Ades prison while their male counterparts have been remanded in Morsu detention centre in Kurdistan, awaiting their judgement.
Meanwhile, the five ladies through whom the items were transported from Ghana to Kurdistan, have not been interdicted by the security agencies in Kurdistan.