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27.07.2004 Crime & Punishment

I did not construct compartments in my house to store cocaine - Gorman

By GNA

Accra July 27, GNA - A 59 year old American in the 588.33 kilograms Tema cocaine case on Tuesday said he created a special compartment in his house to keep his items safe from armed robbers but not to store boxes of cocaine

Kevin Gorman stated that it was one Yakuba, a friend whom he met at Tema a year ago that kept the consignment in the special compartment. According to him Yakuba, now at large, did not inform him about the contents of the consignment.

He denied that he told one Major, who was among the security personnel that arrested him, that the consignment was cocaine during his arrest in Tema.

Gorman was opening his defence in a case in which he and five others have been charged with conspiracy and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

His accomplices are Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian; Alan Hodson 45, David Logan 43, Frank Lavelrick 43, all British and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German.

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.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges before an Accra High Court presided over Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah, a Court of Appeal Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

Gorman, who was led by his Counsel Mr Thaddues Sory, admitted that he possessed three passports. These were two British passports and an American passport.

He explained that the British passports were meant for business purposes stating it was difficult to obtain visa so he used one of the British passports to travel while the other was at the Embassy to enable him to make further trips.

Gorman, who had worked with several firms in Ghana since 1976, said he arrived at the Kotoka International Airport from Venezuela on December 30, 2003 and went to his house at Tema Community 10. Gorman, who could not tell the Court the precise time he arrived in the country, said he did not give assorted currencies to Huzeima, his house help and a Prosecution Witness in the case.

He stated he did not hand over those currencies to Kamil and left the house on the night of December 30 to an unknown place. Gorman denied that two days before his arrest he visited Captain's Lodge at Prampram, where he together with Kamil and Herb took delivery of some parcels from a boat.

When he was asked whether he knew the other accused persons, Gorman admitted knowing all of them.

Asked why they were all in house during the time of his arrest, Gorman said Logan was the business partner to Lavelrick, whose power of attorney on his property in Ghana he held.

He said Hodson came to lodge in his house because he informed him that he owed many people, who were harassing him. According to Gorman he had travelled with Logan to Venezuala on a business trip in connection to the supply of cement to Calabar in South-eastern Nigeria.

Gorman apologized to the rest of the accused persons, whom he said were arrested because they were found his house when the security personnel arrived on January 7, 2004.

Gorman tendered e-mails into evidence indicating that he and Logan were dealing in cement. He said Hodson, his nephew came to Ghana from the UK to give him his medication, adding, "I tried to get him a job in Ghana but I could not do so."

Gorman said he met Herb a year ago at a bar at Tema and only invited him to my house for barbeque.

During cross-examination, by Mr Eliis Owusu Fordjour, Counsel for Kamil, Gorman denied that it was Kamil, who sent the consignment to his house.

Gorman maintained that Lavelrick came to Ghana to give him his medication.

In cross-examination by Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney Gorman denied using the three passports found on him.

Gorman could not tell the time he returned to Ghana on December 30, 2003 but insisted that he never saw Huziema, his house help in the house on his arrival.

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