Cocaine Woman Remanded

AN ACCRA Circuit Court has remanded into police custody a 37-year old woman arrested at the Kotoka International Airport KIA by Narcotics Control Board officials for allegedly importing narcotic drugs into the country. Fatima Elouardi was charged with two provisional counts of importation and possession of Narcotic drug without lawful authority. The facts and the charges were explained to the accused in French by an interpreter invited to assist the court. The accused person�s plea was not taken upon a request by Asiamah Sampong, the principal state attorney, and she was remanded to assist with police investigations. According to the prosecutor, they charged her provisionally because they needed to meet the 48 hour requirement in cells. The court presided over by Audrey Kocuvie-Tay gave prosecution six days to charge the accused properly and adjourned the matter to April 19. On Tuesday April 10 when the accused was first put to court nothing much happened because she could not express herself well in English. Fatima�s arrest is said to be a collaboration between NACOB and its international partners which had been monitoring movement of the accused and her accomplice for some time. The prosecutor narrating the facts stated that on April 5, 2012 Fatima Elouardi who was travelling from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Dubai on Emirates Airlines was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport with 2.7kg of cocaine with the street value of $1million. Fatima who is noted for allegedly flying in and out of Ghana for some time now was said to have first travelled from Morocco to Accra on March 19, 2012 and was allegedly met on arrival by Youssef, who checked her into the Golden Tulip Hotel. The following day, Youssef bought an Emirates Airline ticket for her and took her to the Kotoka International Airport to travel to Sao Paulo. In Sao Paulo, Fatima is believed to have met her alleged supplier, Kamil Jawahiri alias Salim, also a Lebanese who used to live in Ghana but has relocated to Brazil. After meeting with the suspected suppliers, Fatima is said to have left Sao Paulo for Accra on Thursday, April 5, 2012. On arrival, she went through arrival formalities but walked out of the airport without claiming her luggage. According to reports she rather called Youssef her accomplice, on phone to inform him that she had arrived safely. NACOB and its international partners who were monitoring her movement arrested her while she was waiting to be picked up. She was then sent to the arrival hall to claim her luggage. After Fatima finally picked up her luggage and it was opened, the drug was found concealed under the bag. Upon interrogation, he said, the suspect broke down and allegedly admitted to the offence. Her accomplice one Youssef Salloum is at large. Meanwhile efforts are being made to get him arrested.