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21.04.2004 General News

Trial of six suspected drug barons begins

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Accra, April 21, GNA - The trial of six suspected drug barons, who allegedly smuggled 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into Ghana, began on Wednesday at an Accra High Court.

The Court could not bear the scent of the substance when the first Prosecution Witness was called to testify and identify the boxes of the suspected drugs in court. It, therefore, had to rise for sometime for the boxes containing the suspected drugs to be taken away before the Court resumed proceedings.

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

All the accused persons, who are in prison custody, have pleaded not guilty. Mr Justice F. Kusi Appiah, an Appeal Court Judge is sitting on the case as an additional High Court Judge.

Miss Huzeiuma Iddrisu, Housemaid of Gorman, was the First Prosecution Witness. Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, led her to give evidence.

She said she knew all the accused person who were on trial and got to know them through Gorman. She said Alan was the nephew of Gorman while the rest of the accused persons were Gorman's friends.

Miss Huzeiuma said Gorman had worked with three different fishing companies in Ghana. She said she knew Alan to be a mason, who had worked in Gorman's house.

She said on December 30, 2003, Gorman returned from London with a lot of money, mainly pounds sterling.

Witness said Gorman asked her to arrange the monies and while arranging them, she heard a knock on the door and Gorman asked her to go and check on the person at the door.

She said it was Kamil, who was at the door, and Gorman asked him to enter the room.

Huzeiuma said after serving Kamil with some drinks, Gorman asked her to go and bring a polythene bag so that she could put the money into it. She said Kamil took the money away.

Huzeuima said during the night on the same day, Gorman asked her to pack some items including pants, torch lights, matches and candle for him after which Gorman left the house but she did not know where he went.

When asked by Mr Gyambiby what happened between December 30 2003 and January 7, 2004, Witness said except Gorman, all the accused person visited their residence at Community 10 in Tema.

On January 7, 2004, Huzeuima said she woke up only to see a lot of Policeman in their residence and they searched the whole place. She said the Police found boxes wrapped with black polythene bags in the house and she was arrested together with Gorman, Hodson, Logan and Lavelrick.

In a cross examination by Mr Thaddeus Sory, Counsel for Kamil, Huzeiuma told the court that she was now staying at the Police Headquarters. Mr Sory pleaded with the Court for an adjournment to enable him prepare very well for the cross-examination.

He said the adjournment was necessary because of the nature of the trial that kept springing surprises on them in terms of Prosecution Witnesses.

Counsel for the other accused persons associated themselves with Mr Sory.

The Court acceded to their request and adjourned proceedings to April 22.

On January 7, 2004, following intelligence report, 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 cocaine and the accused persons were arrested.

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