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13.10.2008 Crime & Punishment

Three grabbed for fake currency

Three grabbed for fake currency

Three persons have been remanded into custody by an Accra Circuit Court for dealing in fake currency and defrauding an estate agent of $36,000 under the pretext of entering into partnership with him.

The accused persons, Andy Odia, a trader, Razak Fulani, a phone repairer and Mohammed Kazim, a businessman, have also been accused of conspiracy to commit crime, attempt to commit crime and possessing of forged documents.

Meanwhile, three of their alleged accomplices - Atta, Nana Adjei and Ofori Appiah - have gone underground on hearing of their arrest.

The three pleaded not guilty to the offence but were remanded by the trial judge while investigations continue into the matter which has been adjourned to October 14, 2008.

The prosecuting officer, ASP George Abavelim told the court that on August 8, 2008, the complainant who is an estate developer received a call supposedly from a certain Nana Agyeman.

Nana Agyeman, the prosecutor said, told the complainant that his boss, who was based in London and is an Arab, wanted to invest in the country and needed to go into partnership with someone who is into real estate development.

According to ASP Abavelim, the supposed Arab boss later called the estate developer and sent proposals of his company via e-mail indicating that he had jewellery shops all over Europe and wanted to buy gold from Ghana to enhance his business and promised to buy gold from the complainant only for his business.

The prosecutor said the supposed Arab, after sending the proposals, promised to send a white man called Williamson from London who was a gold tester, to test the quality of gold available in the country.

The police officer said Nana Agyeman later called the estate developer and told him he knew a certain Nana Adjei who had 20 carat gold worth $36,000 which had already been tested by the said Williamson so he should pay a deposit and collect the gold on their behalf as his boss would send some $2.5 million soon for him to deduct his expenses.

Furthermore, he said Agyeman advised the complainant to buy more plots for a real estate business while pressurising him to deposit the money else the gold would be sold to someone else.

Explaining further, the prosecuting officer noted that the complainant, unaware of any plan to defraud him, made an initial deposit of GH¢ 10,000 on August 29, 2008 to Atta, currently at large, and later made another deposit of $1 0,000 on September 4, 2008.

ASP Abavelim continued that Nana Agyeman and his so-called boss called the developer that the $2.5 million would soon be sent through some persons from Togo so he should meet them at the Achimota overhead bridge near the motorway.

The complainant, ASP Abavelim said, proceeded there and met some guys who gave him a box which they claimed contained the $2.5 million. He therefore gave them the remaining $16,000 of the amount he was supposed to pay.

The prosecutor said when the developer later opened the box, he found a quantity of black paper cut to the size of a hundred dollar note and an alleged certificate of instructions so he called those who delivered the box to him and complained to them and they told him not to worry as they would teach him how to wash the black currency into gold.

The complainant at that juncture reported the matter to the police who went with him to Mackey Guest House where the accused persons were and arrested Odia and Fulani, after which he told the police it was Odia who collected the $16,000 from him.

A search conducted in their rooms revealed black papers cut to the size of $100 notes as well as fake pounds sterling and genuine currency amounting to $3, 500.

The third accused, Kazim, who was later arrested, said in his caution statement that Atta, who is at large, had told him he had business dealings with the estate developer and gave him $3,000 claiming the complainant gave it to him for the transaction and that the $3,000 was his (Kazim's) share of the deal.

The three were subsequently put before court after investigations.