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Europeans face stiff penalties in Ghana drugs case
ACCRA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Five Europeans detained after police seized a record haul of cocaine in Ghana could face up to 40 years in jail in local prisons if found guilty, the West African country's attorney general said on Thursday.


The remarks came as Ghanaian officials slammed a judge's decision this week to grant the five men bail of 300 million cedis ($32,258) each.


The accused -- four Britons and a German -- are due to reappear in court in the former British colony on February 10.


"This is a very serious matter with an international dimension, and it's important that we demonstrate that we in Ghana are serious about drug smuggling," said Attorney-General Papa Owusu-Ankomah, whose department is heading the prosecution.


"We'll push for the maximum sentence for these people, and that could be 40 years in our local prisons," he said, adding that the prosecution planned to appeal the bail ruling.


The Europeans were arrested last month after 674 kg (1,486 lbs) of cocaine worth $145 million were found packed into 22 parcels and hidden in a secret compartment behind a mirror at the home of Kevin Gorman, 59, in the port city of Tema, east of Accra.


The other British suspects are David Logan and Frank Laverick, both 43 and directors of a company called Ocean Maritime in Gibraltar, and Alan Hodgson, a retired building manager from Wales. German Sven Herb, 45, was also detained.


Gorman, who holds dual British and American citizenship, was charged with possession of drugs, while the four others were charged with aiding and abetting. One Ghanaian is being held.


Lawyers for the accused said they were still in prison on Thursday, pending administrative procedures by the court.


The decision to grant bail was greeted with anger by senior government officials.


"I'm not a lawyer, but speaking as an ordinary Ghanaian, I believe this is wrong, and I'm very angry," Interior Minister Hackman Owusu-Agyeman told Peace FM radio on Thursday.


"These people could go and influence potential witnesses. By treating the case so lightly, the resolve of our narcotics officers could simply be damaged," he said.


The arrests came after a six-month sting operation involving British, Antiguan, Spanish and Portuguese authorities following the seizure last September of $74 million worth of cocaine in the Azores.


Source: Kwaku Sakyi-Addo for Reuters

Court gives judgement in cocaine case on Wednesday
Accra Oct. 26, GNA - An Accra High Court would on Wednesday, October 27, deliver its verdict in a case in which six persons are standing trial for smuggling 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

The accused persons: Kevin Gorman, 59, an American; Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian; John David Logan, 43, Frank Lavelrick 43 and Alan Hodson 45, all British and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German have been charged with conspiracy and possessing 588.33 kilograms of cocaine without lawful authority.

Gorman, Lavelrick and Hodson were additionally charged for importing narcotic drugs without licence. Gorman was further charged for using his property for narcotic offence.

The accused persons have all pleaded not guilty and have been in prison custody and if found guilty would each go to jail for not less than 10 years.

Prosecuting, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, called 12 witnesses during the nine-month trial.

On September 14, this year, the Court presided over by Mr Justice F. Kusi Appiah, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as additional High Court Judge, fixed the date after the Prosecution and Defence had filed their addresses to the Court.

The case for the Prosecution was that Gorman is a Director Shareholder and Operations Manager of a shipping company called Tuna To-Go Limited in Tema.

On January 7, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Police Service raided the residence of Gorman and discovered bales and parcels of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine concealed in a specially constructed hole or compartment upstairs behind a large dressing mirror.
The Chief State Attorney said Gorman with Logan, Lavelrick and Hodgson, who were in the house with him (Gorman) at the time, were confronted with the substance.

Gorman said the bales and parcels were brought there for safe keeping by one Yakuba for a fee of 50,000 dollars.

The rest of the suspects including Herb, who arrived later denied knowledge of the substances.

Investigation indicated that on December 31, last year, Kamil delivered the bales or boxes of the suspected drugs to Gorman's house. Herb, who had earlier visited Gorman, assisted him and Kamil to off load the boxes upstairs.

Examination by the Ghana Standard Board has revealed that the whitish substance was cocaine.

Court Orders Prisons to Allow Lawyers Access To Cocaine Suspects
An Accra High Court has ordered the Director of Prisons to allow Counsel access to six suspected drug barons, who smuggled 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into the country.


It further asked the Registrar of the Court to notify the Director of Prisons of the order. The Court further granted an application for leave by Prosecution to amend charges levelled against the six accused persons.


The order followed the first appearance at the Court of Kevin Gorman, 59, American; Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian; Alan Hodson 45, David Logan 43, Frank Lavelrick 43, all British and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German, who were busted on January 7 at Tema for importing 588.33 kilogrammes of cocaine into the country.


They have been charged with conspiracy and possessing narcotic drug without authority. Gorman was additionally charged for using his property for narcotic offence. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges before An Accra Regional Tribunal, where their trial began.


Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, Prosecuting, told the Court that it would like to amend charges brought against the accused persons.


He said the Attorney General's Department had received additional information and would like to amend the charges to enable them to charge the accused persons with those additional charges.


He explained that A-G could not effect those changes because they did not know the exact court the accused persons were to be arraigned.


"We knew we were going to the Regional Tribunal today but we were told that the case had been sent to the High Court.


He, therefore, asked the Court presided over by Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge to grant them leave to enable them to amend the charges. Defence Counsels did not objected to the oral application but stated that such applications should be written.


They further complained about their inability to have access to their clients at the prisons. According them, anytime they visited their clients to receive instructions, "there was no confidentiality, as there was an officer of the Prisons always sitting by taking notes.


"This practice did not exist at the Prisons, it only started three weeks ago when our clients were sent there", adding, "this is against fundamental human rights of our clients".


Prosecution in reaction said he was not aware and would verify. The court after listening to both submissions adjourned the matter to April 1. The case of the Prosecution was that Gorman was a Director Shareholder and Operations Manager of a shipping company called Tuna To-Go Limited based in Tema.


On January 7, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and the Drug Enforcement Unit (DLEU) of the Police Service raided the residence of Gorman and discovered bales and parcels of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine concealed in a specially constructed hole or compartment in a wall in the corridor upstairs behind a large dressing mirror.


The Chief State Attorney said Gorman with Logan, Lavelrick and Hodgson who were living in the house with him (Gorman) at the time, were confronted with the substance.


Gorman said the bales and parcels were brought there for safe keeping by one Yakuba for a fee of 50,000 dollars. The rest of the suspects including Herb who arrived later denied knowledge of the substances.


Mr Gyambiby said investigation indicated that on December 31, last year, Kamil delivered the bales or boxes of the suspected drugs in Gorman's house. Herb, who earlier visited Gorman, assisted him and Kamil to off load the boxes containing the drugs upstairs.


Mr Gyambiby said examination by the Ghana Standard Board has revealed that the whitish substances were cocaine.


Briton held in Ghana over $145 million cocaine haul
Tue 20 July, 2004 - By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo

Cocaine powder ACCRA (Reuters) - Police in Ghana are holding an Englishman suspected of being behind a plot to smuggle $145 million (78 million pounds) worth of cocaine seized earlier this year, Ghanaian narcotics officials said on Tuesday.

Craig Alexander Pinnick, 53, from Grimsby, was arrested in a West African country on July 9, Isaac Akuoko, executive secretary of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board, said.

"We've been looking for him for more than six months. We found him with the help of Interpol in a West African country. But I can't disclose which country," Akuoko said.

Police have charged Pinnick, who has been resident in Ghana for 10 years, with importation and possession, and engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit an offence relating to narcotic drugs, according to Akuoko.

In January, Ghanaian narcotics agents discovered 674 kg (1,486 lbs) of cocaine at the home of Briton Kevin Gorman, 59, in Tema, a port city near Accra following a two-year investigation.

European anti-drug officials say Latin American drug cartels are using West African countries more and more as a route to evade the authorities and smuggle narcotics into Europe.

Officials said several Colombian cartels had set up smuggling rings in Senegal, Togo, Ghana and Mauritania. Cocaine from Latin America is first shipped to West Africa and then sent on to Europe in normal shipping containers, they say.

Pinnick was expected to appear in court on July 27. Each offence carries a minimum of 10 years in prison. Pinnick, a marine cargo technician, is married with a 24-year-old son.

Gorman, three other Britons and a 45-year-old German, Sven Herb, are currently on trial for drugs importation, possession and conspiracy offences.

The other British suspects are David Logan and Frank Laverick, both 43, and directors of a company called Ocean Maritime in Gibraltar, and Alan Hodgson, retired building manager from Wales.

Akuoko said Pinnick and Herb, a boat skipper, were responsible for picking up the drugs from the high seas off boats believed to have originated from South America.

Britons To Serve Jail Term In Britain?
The British High Commission says although there is no bilateral agreement between the government of Ghana and the British Government on prisoner transfer, there is the likelihood that British High Commission in Ghana could engage in a mutual agreement with the government for the transfer of the three British nationals who were handed down 20 years imprisonment each for smuggling 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into the country, by an Accra High Court, yesterday.

John David Logan, 43, Frank Lavelrick, 43 and Alan Hodson 45, all British nationals were found guilty for conspiracy and possession of cocaine without lawful authority. Speaking in an interview with Peace FM News today, October 28, 2004, the Head of Public Affairs at the British High Commission, Mr. Gary Nicoles stated that normally prisoner transfers from one country to the UK takes place if there is a mutual agreement between both countries. He added that since there is no such agreement, it is unlikely that the three British nationals will be transferred.

Mr. Nicoles, however, disclosed that even if such an agreement exists, the prisoner will first have to make a request for a transfer before the UK Government and Ghanaian officials can work out the details.

He further revealed that if any mutual talks between officials of the two countries fail to work, the British government will maintain contact with the three Britons by undertaking prisoner visits and also ensure that their welfare is safeguard.

Security Officer to testify in cocaine case
A Security Officer of Captain's Lodge popularly known as Prampram Beach, has stated that he was contracted by some of the accused persons in the 588.33 kilogrammms cocaine case to convey goods from a boat into a vehicle on December 30, 2003 for a fee of ¢200,000.

Kofi Tetteh, a prosecution witness in the case in which six persons are standing trial for allegedly shipping cocaine into the country without lawful authority, said he saw Sven Herb, a 45-year-old German, sitting on the consignment with five other people, including a white man on board the boat.

The other accused persons are Kevin D. Gorman, a 59-year-old American, Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, a Ghanaian car dealer, Alan Hodgson, 45, David J. Logan, 43, and all Britons.

The accused, who are currently on remand at the Nsawam Prisons, have all pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit offence relating to narcotic drug and possessing narcotics drugs without authority.

Gorman, Hodgson and Laverick have all pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of importing narcotics drugs and possessing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Gorman has been charged with an additional count of using his property for keeping narcotic drugs and has pleaded not guilty.

Tetteh told the court, presided over by Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah an Appeal Court judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, that Kamil drove a big vehicle on which the boxes were loaded, adding that he was made to understand that the boxes contained fish.

He also identified Gorman as one of the people who assisted to convey the consignment into the large vehicle.

Asked why he offered to assist by the Chief State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Gyambiby, witness said he decided to help because his boss was part of the group.

He further told the court that the goods were tied and he, therefore did not know the exact content, apart from being told it was fish. The case was adjourned to May 12, 2004.

Six Europeans and a Ghanian Jailed 20 years for drug smuggling
An Accra High Court on Wednesday handed down 20 years' imprisonment to each of the six persons it found guilty of smuggling 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into Ghana, even though, they all pleaded not guilty.

Kevin Gorman, 59, an American, Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, a Ghanaian, John David Logan, 43, Frank Lavelrick, 43, Alan Hodson 45, all British nationals and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German, faced charges for conspiracy and possessing 588.33 kilograms of cocaine without lawful authority.

Gorman, Lavelrick and Hodson were additionally charged with importing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health. Gorman was further charged with using his property for narcotic offence.

The Court presided over by Mr Justice F. Kusi Appiah, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as additional High Court Judge, found them guilty and convicted them accordingly.

The Court ordered that all monies retrieved from the convicts - 18,841 dollars; 1,150 pounds sterling; 9,485 Euros; Venezuelan currencies, 40 Thai dollars, 10 Swiss Francs and 4.2 million cedis - be confiscated to the State.

The Court ordered that Gorman's house number 33/7 located at Tema Community 10 and a van used in conveying the drugs from Prampram to the house be confiscated to the State. It said a handbook entitled "Cocaine" should be destroyed before the Registry of the Court.

However, a car with registration number GT 1718 S, a revolver and shotgun, which the court found were not connected to the crime, should be returned to them.

Reading a 50-page judgement the court stated that considering the quantity of the drugs and modus operandi of the accused persons it ought to mete out sentences to serve as deterrent to others.The Court described them as grandmasters in the drug business.

Mr Justice Kusi Appiah stated that on the conspiracy charge, the Prosecution was able to establish a case against the convicts. It said the Prosecution led evidence to show that all the convicts, apart from Kamil, were arrested in Gorman's house.

It further debunked Gorman's explanation that he created the compartment in house to protect his items from armed robbers saying, "this was an after thought".

The Court said from Gorman's creation of the compartment in the house it was clear that he knew the contents of the boxes, which were deposited, in his house by Kamil.

The Court described Gorman as the wheel around which all activities revolved and that Hodson was only not in the country to deliver Gorman's cancer drugs to him but deal in the cocaine business.

The Court described Hodson as untruthful as he denied engaging in any masonry work in Gorman's house but Prosecution witnesses had seen him carrying out masonry work and he was the one, who created the compartments.

It noted that Kamil was the front man, who earlier on conveyed messages to some Prosecution Witness about the arrival of some supposed boxes of fish.

As a result, the Court said, Kamil arrived with Herb in a boat to convey the boxes of cocaine from Prampram Beach to Tema and offloaded it into a van that took it to Gorman's house.

It noted that Kamil visited Gorman several times and debunked his assertion that he only arrived in the house to collect a present. The Court was of the view that Logan and Laverick although were engaged in oil business travelled with Gorman to various countries to procure and purchase drugs to be distributed.

"I found out that the arrival of Logan and Laverick was pre-arranged and it was in furtherance to see to the arrival of the boxes of cocaine into the country," the Judge said.

Mr Justice Kusi Appiah said Hodson and Lavelrick, who told the Court that they wanted to travel to Nigeria before January 9, 2004 for a business transaction, never made any arrangement to that effect. It said the visit of Hodson was not coincidental but was to accomplish a criminal offence.

On Herb the Court said it found that he was the one, who conveyed the boxes of the drugs and landed at Prampram Beach.

It also found that Herb arrived in Captain's Lodge at Prampram with Kamil and other people to offload the boxes of supposed fish.

Herb through Kamil distributed 200,000 cedis each to some Prosecution Witnesses, who assisted in offloading the boxes of cocaine into a van owned by Kamil.

The case of the Prosecution was that Gorman is a Director/Shareholder and Operations Manager of a shipping company called Tuna To-Go Limited based in Tema.

On January 7, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Police Service raided the residence of Gorman and discovered bales and parcels of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine. The parcels were concealed in a specially constructed hole or compartment in a wall behind a large dressing mirror. The Prosecution said Gorman with Logan, Lavelrick and Hodgson, who were living in the house at the time, were confronted with the substance.

Gorman said the bales and parcels were brought there for safe keeping by one Yakuba for a fee of 50,000 dollars.

The rest of the suspects, including Herb, who arrived later, denied knowledge of the substance.

Investigations indicated that on December 31, last year, Kamil delivered the bales or boxes of suspected drugs to Gorman's house.

An examination by the Ghana Standard Board revealed that the whitish substance was cocaine.

by: Joseph Nana Essiful (Accra-Ghana) - Source: Ghana News Agency

Two Britons Freed Of Cocaine Charges
By Daily Graphic - - Thu, 08 Feb 2007 The Supreme Court has freed two Britons who were convicted for narcotic drug offences in October 2004. The two were sentenced to 20 years with hard labour by the Accra High Court for shipping 588.33 kilogrammes of cocaine into the country but walked out of the Supreme Court as free men yesterday.

The Supreme Court, by a unanimous decision, upheld the appeal of David J. Logan and Frank David Laverick, both 45.

It thus quashed and set aside the High Court conviction which had kept them in prison for more than two years.

The five-member panel was presided over by Ms Sophia Akuffo, with Mr Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mr Justice R.T. Aninakwa and Ms Sophia Adinyira as members.

The two men were among six persons who were each sentenced to 20 years by the Accra High Court on October 27, 2004 for conspiracy, dealing in narcotic substances and possession of narcotic substances.

The rest of the convicts who are serving their sentences are Kevin Dinsdale Gorman, a 61-year-old American, Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, 38, a Ghanaian car dealer, Alan Hodgson, 47, also a Briton, and Sven Herb, 47, a German.

They were arrested by the security agencies in a house at Tema Community 10 where the substances were found concealed behind a mirror on January 7, 2004.

All six of them pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit an offence relating to narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drugs without authority.

Gorman, Kamil and Herb pleaded not guilty to additional charges of importing narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health. Gorman further faced a count of using his property for keeping narcotic drugs, to which he pleaded not guilty.

A seventh accomplice, Craig Alexander Pinnick, a Briton, who absconded was later arrested and arraigned.

After their sentence by the High Court, Logan and Laverick went on appeal at the Court of Appeal which, by a 2-1 majority decision, upheld the High Court decision.

In December 2006, they further went to the highest court on the grounds that their convictions were not supported, having regard to the evidence adduced at the trial.

The Supreme Court held that the trial court was wrong in ruling that a prima facie case had been established against them.

It said that in the light of the evidence at the time of the trial, the two men should not have been called at all to even open their defence.

According to the court, when they eventually opened their defence, the appellants provided credible evidence to establish their innocence.

Similarly, the court held that the Court of Appeal was also wrong in affirming the lower court's decision because there was no evidence at the trial.

The Supreme Court said the Court of Appeal erred in shifting the burden of proof on the appellants.

An elated Mr Addo Atuah, counsel for the appellants, who could not hide his feelings, described the decision as victory for the rule of law and good governance.

He said that had become necessary because the right atmosphere had been created to embolden judges of the courts to dispense justice.

Story by Stephen Sah
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