Scottish aristocrat, Jack Marrian, who was arrested in Kenya in connection with the alleged smuggling of cocaine worth Ksh598 million (£4.5 million) believes he may finally be cleared after an admission by a police chief that there was nothing to connect him to the drugs.
The 33-year-old grandson of the late Earl of Cawdor, was arrested in July 2016 after a raid on a shipping container carrying sugar for Mshale Commodities, the company he works for in Kenya.
Since his arrest, he has been embroiled in a prolonged legal process with the threat of a 30-year sentence hanging over him if convicted by a Nairobi court.
Marrian has always protested his innocence, insisting he knew nothing of the drugs. After last week’s drama in court, he finally believes his ordeal could be coming to an end when his previously confiscated passport was returned by the magistrate.
The US Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) has provided compelling evidence that the cocaine had been loaded on board the container in Brazil by an international cartel entirely without his knowledge.
Chief investigating officer for Kenya’s police anti-narcotics unit, Corporal Sheila Kipsoi was forced to confess during a five-hour cross-examination that neither she nor anyone on her team had questioned the original supplier of the Brazilian brown sugar which was loaded on to the MSC Letizia on June 10, 2016 before it left Santos in Brazil to head for Valencia.
Kenyan investigators also failed to question the company which stacked the sugar into the containers, nor the transporters who took it to the docks.
Although Kipsoi is the main prosecution witness, said admitted to having no idea where the sugar had been stored while awaiting shipping, whether the store was guarded, or who had loaded the containers on board. She also agreed with Marrian’s lawyer, Andrew Wandabwa, that there was nothing whatsoever to connect Marrian to the consignment of cocaine.
When asked directly if Marrian could have had any physical contact with the consignment or any responsibility for it at any stage, she answered: ‘No.’
After being handed a letter from the DEA virtually proving Marrian’s innocence, Kipsoi broke down in tears, which forced magistrate Derrick Kuto to adjourn the proceedings until she recovered.
The document which was sent several months ago to the director of Kenya’s Criminal Investigations police department revealed details of an international drug-smuggling operation its officers had been monitoring.
Despite acknowledging that the letter was dated just days after Marrian was charged and had been sent to her team at the Kenyan police anti-narcotics squad, a sobbing Kipsoi claimed this was the first time she had seen the letter.
The DEA had MSC Letizia under surveillance as it left Santos, and expected members of the drugs gang involved to offload the cocaine as the ship docked in Valencia.
However, something caused four of the shipping containers to be hurriedly transferred to the MSC Positano which was heading first to Oman and then onto Mombasa. After being tipped off by the American investigators, Kenyan port police impounded the four containers on July 28, 2016, and found the cocaine inside one.
Marrian’s lawyers have always considered the DEA letter as proof of their client’s innocence.
The redacted letter, obtained through America’s Freedom of Information laws, stated: “The DEA would like to stress that there was no indication the cocaine was to be received by anyone in Kenya or Uganda and that the company owning the consignment had no knowledge that the cocaine was secreted inside their shipment of sugar.”
After having had his passport returned, which he had surrounded as one of his bail conditions, a date was set for submissions from Marrian’s lawyer that there was no case to answer.