Isle businessman is
jailed in Ghana
Kevin Andrews is accused of
breaking a machinery contract
A Waimanalo businessman who has had numerous legal entanglements in Hawaii is being held in an African jail for allegedly defaulting on a multimillion-dollar contract.
Carol Andrews said her husband, Kevin R. Andrews, was jailed July 8 in Accra, Ghana, but that she learned of it only last week.
U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's office, which is monitoring the case, contacted the State Department and confirmed Wednesday that Andrews is being detained in a Ghanaian jail.
Inouye's office received from Andrews' associate a writ issued by the High Court of Ghana alleging breach of contract regarding machinery to be installed for a chili pepper-drying process.
Andrews' attorney, Gary Dubin, said Ghana has a provision that allows a person to be jailed for breach of contract. He said a judge was expected to set a bail amount yesterday.
Carol Andrews insists her husband has done nothing wrong and is being unfairly held.
Andrews went to Ghana with a Hawaii mechanic and an engineer from Florida to set up equipment for a plant for a man she knows as Doctor Tei, and is accused of being too far behind in the work. He was hampered by difficulties such as getting needed parts quickly, Carol Andrews said.
Kevin Andrews also tried to encourage Tei to manufacture flour and plywood from sugar cane, Carol Andrews said.
He contacted Tei through an Oregon attorney.
She said the court demanded $10 million to release her husband, then reduced it to $5 million to fulfill the contract, she said. Later, Tei said he could be released for $1.7 million, she said.
"How can he finish a factory if he's in jail?" she said.
She said her husband is involved in many business endeavors.
She pointed to his company, Plant Research Corp., which developed and sells sugar cane swizzle sticks. It is based on Andrews' leased property in Waimanalo.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating Kevin Andrews for improper use of state agricultural lands he leases from the state and subleases from the state of California.
The state will not give details about what it is investigating.
Police said they have received numerous complaints from people in the community who suspect illegal activity on his properties.
Carol Andrews said she feared publicity from the Ghana arrest might prompt the state to scrutinize his selling cars and running a trucking company on their agriculturally zoned property. He also has held car auctions.
Andrews, also known as Kevin Jefferies, has six criminal convictions in Hawaii from 1977 to 1996 -- five for misdemeanors and one for a petty misdemeanor.
Waimanalo resident Ikaika Anderson said: "Personally, I get along with Kevin just fine. I think he's done some positive things for the community. But there are many in the community who view Kevin's activities as questionable.
"In actuality, a lot of his activities are questionable," Anderson said.
Andrews has donated space on his property for a Police Activities League boxing ring for youths and has contributed to other community causes.
Andrews has had a score of lawsuits filed either against him or by him.
Last year, Andrews and Plant Research Corp. sued a partnership called SSWYA for breach of contract for failure to pay him a 10 percent finder's fee for locating a buyer for its sugar-milling equipment.
A Circuit Court judge ruled against Andrews because it found the parties had lowered the finder's fee to 5 percent from 10 percent, and ordered Andrews' bank accounts to be garnished.
And in a Circuit Court lawsuit, Andrews defaulted with two others on a $20,000 bank loan in 1982.
Last July, Andrews filed in state District Court four applications for temporary restraining orders against tenants, some of whom had criminal records, complaining they either stole car parts, dealt drugs and/or threatened and strong-armed other tenants or dumped 20 to 30 truckloads of rubbish on his property.
The TROs were never issued because Andrews failed to appear for the hearings.