Gold Turns Cocaine

Nayele Amatefeh, aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi aka Angel
‘…she collected the bag and it was heavy; it wasn’t possible for her to pick it up and put in the overhead luggage compartment. So she opened the bag; she took out two packages and put them in her hand bag and then she put them in the luggage compartment’

Interesting revelations are coming out of the London Heathrow Airport cocaine bust in which a Ghanaian lady, Nayele Amatefeh, aka Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, was arrested with 12.5kg of cocaine with a street value of over $5 million.

The arrest has since become a major issue for discussion both home and abroad, with the Government of Ghana trying to absolve itself from the scandal, especially with the allegation that Ruby was carrying a diplomatic passport during her arrest.

In her first public interview since the scandal broke, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hannah Tetteh, said that the suspect at the centre of the controversy had told investigators that when the hand luggage was brought to her on the plane she thought it contained gold and not cocaine.

Hannah Tetteh said, ‘She [Ruby] said that as far as she was concerned, she didn’t know what she was holding was cocaine but she thought it was gold.’

This was during an interview on Accra-based Radio Gold .

Hannah Tetteh claimed to have gotten this information from Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Victor Smith, after consular officers   had been sent to ascertain the veracity of the story when news of Ruby’s arrest first broke some two weeks ago in the Ghanaian media.

That, she said, was nothing unusual but a normal practice every country does when its citizens face problems in other countries.

Suspicion                                                                                                                                                                                                                           But observers have said that the visit by the consular officers under the instruction of Victor Smith raises a lot of questions, especially since Ruby was said to have travelled on an Austrian passport to the UK, meaning that she entered UK as an EU citizen and not as a Ghanaian.

Even though the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) had tried to associate itself with the arrest of the woman, now dubbed ‘Cocaine Cleopatra,’ its British counterparts have denied any such collaboration in this instance, insisting that it ‘had no prior knowledge of the intentions of Ms Nayele Ametefeh before flying from Accra to London on 9/10 November.’

Hannah Tetteh however indicated that when consular officials of the High Commission tried to find out the identity of the one who asked for the bag containing the cocaine to be sent to her (Ruby) while she was on board the flight, she declined to make any further disclosures.

Instead, she noted that ‘she was ready to undertake this activity because the money was good; and was resigned to the fact that she has been caught.’

The Foreign Affairs Minister indicated, ‘She [Ruby] was ready to do jail time and she was not going to give any further information.’

This also raises question about the sincerity of the suspect who claimed that she was carrying gold which had turned out to be cocaine, and not ready to mention the people who allegedly fixed her with the Class A drug.

According to the minister, ‘When they went to visit her, apparently her first reaction was she didn’t travel on a Ghanaian passport so why were they there?’

She said the Ghanaian officials in turn told her they heard a Ghanaian had been arrested so they were there to visit her.

Businessman                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Hannah Tetteh further disclosed that Nayele was aided by a Ghanaian businessman .

The man is alleged to have called an assistant director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Abiel Ashitey Armah, who has since been remanded into prison custody with two others, and requested that Ms Ametefeh receive preferential treatment at the VVIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport.

‘When they tried to ask who was the person who sent the guy to bring her the bag on board and all of that, she said she wasn’t prepared to say anything else,’ said Hannah Tetteh.

Meanwhile, Nayele, who is currently in prison custody in the UK, is expected to return to court on November 27.

Confession                                                                                                                                                                                                                     According to Hannah Tetteh, ‘She [Ruby] indicated that…she went through the VVIP lounge; that she didn’t carry anything onto the plane. That when she got onto the plane, somebody who was a ground staff brought a bag to her; she doesn’t know who the person was but the person knew her name and the seat in which she was sitting.

‘…and that she collected the bag and it was heavy; it wasn’t possible for her to pick it up and put in the overhead luggage compartment. So she opened the bag; she took out two packages and put them in her hand bag and then she put them in the luggage compartment,’ the minister narrated.

For her, ‘Whether that is true or not…is not the point that I’m raising; I’m just reporting what she is supposed to have said to the consular officer. So whether she knew it was gold or whether she knew it was cocaine, I am not in a position to judge and she wasn’t ready to give them any more information.’

Denials                                                                                                                                                                                                                               She however denied claims that some Ghanaian officials were on hand to meet Ruby on her arrival at the Heathrow Airport when she was busted, denying suggestions that the lady was using a diplomatic passport with either the names Ruby Adu Gyamfi or Nayele Amatefeh. According to her, no such name exists on the list of persons issued with diplomatic passports. Tetteh emphasised, ‘She was travelling on an Austrian passport and she also had a Ghanaian regular passport.’

At the time of her arrest, Hannah Tetteh said, the defence attaché at the Ghana High Commission in UK together with some staff of his unit were at the airport to receive a delegation from the Ministry of Defence at the airport and that ‘they did not have any interaction with the Border Control Authorities when this lady (Ruby) was being escorted though they saw her being escorted after she had disembarked from the plane.’

According to the minister, the lady in question said she did not know who gave her the contraband goods, neither did she know that the content was cocaine.

Dismissal                                                                                                                                                                                                                       But the Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament, Dominic Nitiwul, has rejected the minister’s report and cautioned her to refrain from trying to deceive the public.

‘I will dismiss it,’ he asserted, and accused the minister of using her position to ‘defend the lady’.

She shouldn’t defend her because ‘this lady has embarrassed us big time,’ he said.

Nitiwul is convinced there was a clear ‘collusion’ involving some high profile persons he would not name.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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