Andrew Mitchell QC Opens Long Awaited Political Corruption Trial in Turks and Caicos Islands

‘Political Corruption & Financial Greed’ cited as reason for SIPT trials by Mitchell

by Deandrea

Providenciales, 19 January 2016 - No words were minced by Andrew Mitchell, QC as he lunged into the reasons for the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team cases, which have been looming since 2009.

The attorney for the SIPT on Monday explained bluntly that “This case is about political corruption and financial greed.”

Mitchell added that, “The monies received by the Ministers were in no sense monies that could be attributed to the work of honest servants of the people whom they were elected to represent.”

The unforgiving criminal charges and raw statements came at the opening of the proceedings which continue now in 2016, with Justice Paul Harrison presiding as both judge and jury. The cases against nine, including former Premier, Michael Misick; former Health Minister, Lillian Boyce; former Lands Minister, McCallister Hanchell; former Works Minister, Jeffrey Hall; former House Speaker, Clayton Greene and former Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, Floyd Hall is a monster of a trial with hefty charges, which have the potential to put these individuals in prison for decades.

Mitchell will spend some days as he lays out the case which he explained is fueled by an alleged conspiracy for the nine people charged to, and I quote again, “enrich themselves and/or their families, the defendants undermined, ignored and usurped almost all of the Country’s institutions designed to ensure and preserve good governance.”

Mitchell added that, ‘a number of witnesses will be called to explain how the Government of the Islands should function’ making it known that his case is built on nine land deals or developments which were negotiated during the Misick years.

Andrew Mitchell shared that he will illustrate, “the way that the political establishment was prepared to abuse their responsibilities to the electorate by, in effect, treating as their own that precious resource: the land.”

Names like Mario Hoffman and J&T Banka and the revelations linked to the American Express, Black cards all resurface as the country once again braces to hear the alleged vainglorious details of the accused.

Meanwhile, Michael Misick & the others have fought the proceedings and Misick has directly told media that he is a defendant in protest.

Confiscation where Forfeiture Order Already Made. Andrew Mitchell QC and Kennedy Talbot

R. v Kakkad (Freshkumar), Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) 17 March 2015 [2015] EWCA Crim 385

Summary: Where a judge had sentenced an offender for drug offences after postponing confiscation proceedings and, despite the prohibition on doing so in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.15(2), had made a forfeiture order, the court was not deprived of jurisdiction to make a later confiscation order in the postponed proceedings. The fact that the drugs had been seized did not mean that the appellant had not received any benefit for the purposes of confiscation proceedings.

Abstract: The appellant appealed against a confiscation order made following his conviction for conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs. A lorry had been stopped at Ramsgate and found to be carrying 11kgs of cocaine. Cocaine from the same source, cannabis and amphetamine had subsequently been found at the appellant's home address, together with cash and paraphernalia for weighing, cutting and packing drugs. The appellant had been convicted of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs. When sentencing him, the judge made an order under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.27 for forfeiture and destruction of the drugs seized. In confiscation proceedings the judge heard expert evidence about the value of the drugs. He found that the appellant's home address was the centre for wholesale distribution of cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine which had been imported by him with his co-conspirators. He assessed the value of the appellant's benefit from criminal conduct at £2,286,472.80 which represented his assessed value of the drugs found. He then assessed the recoverable amount at £324,184.53. The appellant submitted that (1) once a forfeiture order had been made, there was no jurisdiction to make a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; (2) the Ramsgate consignment was never "property obtained" by him and once the drugs had been seized the appellant's benefit had been extinguished and it would be disproportionate to make a confiscation order by reference to their value; (3) the judge had erred in assessing the value of the cocaine.

Appeal allowed in part. (1) Under s.15 of the 2002 Act, if the court postponed confiscation proceedings, it could proceed to sentence, as happened in the instant case. Under s.15(2) the court was required, when sentencing the offender in the postponement period, not to make an order falling within s.13(3), which included a forfeiture order under the 1971 Act. However, the making of such an order did not deprive the court of jurisdiction to make a later confiscation order, whether by reason of s.14(12) or otherwise. Neither s.15(2) nor s.14(11) and (12) had the effect of depriving the court of jurisdiction to make a confiscation order when there had been a failure to observe the prohibition in s.15(2), R. v Donohoe (Mark Edward) [2006] EWCA Crim 2200, [2007] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 88 followed and R. v Soneji (Kamlesh Kumar) [2005] UKHL 49, [2006] 1 A.C. 340 applied (see paras 10-13 of judgment). (2) The existence of the conspiracy did not in itself establish that the Ramsgate consignment had been "obtained" by the appellant. However, it was open to the judge to find that the appellant had a power of disposition or control over the consignment, playing an equal role to that of his co-conspirators, R. v Ahmad (Shakeel) [2014] UKSC 36, [2014] 3 W.L.R. 23 applied. Questions of passing of property in the consignment were not argued, because the appellant denied any knowledge of the consignment, a point on which he had been disbelieved (see para.20). The argument that because the drugs had been seized the appellant did not receive any benefit was contrary to authority, R. v Smith (David Cadman) [2001] UKHL 68, [2002] 1 W.L.R. 54 and R. v Islam (Samsul) [2009] UKHL 30, [2009] 1 A.C. 1076 followed. The court was concerned with the value of the property to the offender when he obtained it, and it made no difference if the property was then seized. Different policy considerations arose where property was restored by an offender to a victim, R. v Waya (Terry) [2012] UKSC 51, [2013] 1 A.C. 294 considered. Proportionality should be considered in the context of the final order made and the legislation as a whole. The amount confiscated was limited to the recoverable amount which was the lesser of the defendant's benefits and the available amount. Self-evidently, property seized and forfeited would no longer be part of the available amount, Islam considered (paras 21-32). (3) The judge wrongly assessed the benefit on the basis that all the cocaine would have been diluted with benzocaine, when the available benzocaine would not have been sufficient for that purpose. The overall benefit figure had to be reduced accordingly to £1,106,672.80, and to that extent the appeal was allowed (paras 33-39).

Judge: Pitchford LJ; Cooke J; Lang J

Counsel: For the Crown: A Mitchell QC, K Talbot. For the defendant: A Campbell-Tiech QC, J McNally.

Ex-Innospec directors found guilty over bribes to sell toxic fuel additives - Andrew Mitchell QC for the SFO

A former chief executive and regional sales director of U.S.-listed chemicals group Innospec were convicted in London on Wednesday of bribing Indonesian officials to boost sales of toxic fuel additives banned in Europe and the United States.

The unanimous guilty verdicts for Dennis Kerrison, 69, and Miltiades Papachristos, 51, bring to an end a drawn-out transatlantic investigation into how Innospec supplied Indonesia with products such as Tetraethyl Lead (TEL), which is banned in cars in western countries on health and environmental grounds.

Innospec pleaded guilty in 2010 to bribing Indonesian government officials employed by Pertamina, a state-owned refinery, and was fined $12.7 million as part of a global settlement. Since then, former directors David Turner and Paul Jennings also pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which worked closely with U.S. agencies, UK police and authorities in Indonesia, Switzerland and Singapore to help bring Innospec and its former staff to book, said the four men would be sentenced on July 25.

Innospec appointed and paid agents almost $12 million between 2002 and 2008 to act on its behalf to win or maintain Indonesian contracts to sell TEL, which has been outlawed in some countries because it has been linked to brain and kidney damage and even violent crime.

Although the Indonesian government was keen to eliminate the use of leaded fuel, Innospec agents used the commissions in part to bribe Pertamina staff and other public officials. They acted under Innospec's instructions and commission fees were authorised by the company, according to the SFO.

Innospec cooperated fully with the investigation first launched by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in the wake of United Nations Independent Inquiry Committee report into the Oil for Food Programme in 2005.

The DoJ referred the inquiry to the SFO in 2007 and the British agency formally accepted it for investigation early the following year.

"Today's convictions finally bring to an end a long-running investigation into corruption at Innospec," said SFO head David Green.

"While other defendants took the decision to plead guilty at an early stage, the SFO case team has had to resist a sustained and extensive campaign designed to prevent these defendants facing trial. That they have now done so is testament to the skills, professionalism and tenacity of those involved."

Innospec, which has a manufacturing plant in the UK, continues to supply TEL to the aviation market under its trade name AvTEL, according to its website. Company officials in the United States and UK were not immediately available for comment.

(Reuters) - See here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/18/us-courts-innospec-idUSKBN0ET2G620140618 (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley, editing by David Evans)