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28.10.2008 Crime & Punishment

Man Jailed For Blackmail

An unemployed senior high school graduate has been jailed for seven years for demanding GH¢5,000 from the proprietor of a pharmaceutical company in Tema through threatening text messages.

Michael Clifford Kwabla Krif sent several threatening text messages to the complainant, who is pregnant, forcing her to flee from her home in Tema for safety.

The convict, who was the boyfriend of the complainant's house help, was sentenced on his own plea of guilt.

Kojo had earlier this month threatened to kill the complainant if she did not deposit the amount in his personal account, but he was later arrested at his hideout in Ashaiman while he was in possession of the phone number he used in sending the threatening text messages.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of threat of death, prompting the court, presided over by Mrs Ivy Heward-Mills, to convict him.

He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.

The facts of the case were that the convict used to visit the complainant's house help anytime the complainant was absent and he, therefore, got firsthand information on what prevailed in the house, including the complainant's financial status, her pregnancy, her telephone number, among others.

He, therefore, decided to use the information he had gathered to extort money from the complainant through blackmail and threat of death.

Around 10:37 p.m. on October 5, 2008, while the complainant was asleep, the convict sent a text message from his MTN number 024 0783793 to the complainant's phone, stating, "I can see you are pregnant with twins but offer that thing and you will be free to born", in apparent reference to his request to her to send GH¢5,000 to his personal account.

Two days later, he sent another text message around 3:50 p.m. which read, "We can see you are afraid and for us to set you free to deliver your twins safely, go and deposit an amount of GH¢5,000 or ¢5 million into account number 0120523602913 at any branch of Opportunity Bank.”

“Be an obedient person and deposit the money from today to Friday. E-mail: smallboy @yahoo.co.uk. Do it to avoid death," the text message added.

The complainant, fearing for her life, reported the matter to the police and went into hiding.

Upon thorough investigation, the police arrested Michael at his hideout in Ashaiman on October 11, 2008.

He was caught composing more text messages meant for the complainant.

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