19.03.2004 General News

Police arrest member of visa racketeering syndicate

19.03.2004 LISTEN

Kumasi, March 19, GNA- The police on Tuesday arrested Charles Owusu, believed to be a member of a visa racketeering syndicate operating in Kumasi and Accra.

Owusu, 32, who had been on the run for his involvement in a case in which he and two others allegedly duped one Opoku Obeng of 8,716 dollars under the pretext of securing him a visa.

The syndicate was said to have defrauded several traders of millions of cedis between 2002 and 2003 under the guise of acquiring them United States and German visas.

Owusu, 32, was on Thursday arraigned before a Kumasi circuit court on a charge of defrauding by false pretences. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in prison custody to re-appear on March 26.

The court refused Charles Oppong believed to be the leader of the syndicate bail for his alleged involvement in the case and was remanded in prison custody to re-appear on the same day.

Police Chief Inspector Regina Kesewa told the court that the strategy adopted by the syndicate was that Owusu always posed as a business tycoon and approached his victims with the story that he had some business partners who could help them travel to the US and Europe. She said after collecting the particulars of the victims, Owusu then communicated to Oppong and one Richard, who is on the run and were based in Accra and they in turn invited the victims on telephone to a meeting in Accra where they duped them and vanished.

Chief Inspector Kesewaa said in January this year, Owusu used the same trick on someone at Bantama in Kumasi and Owusu and Richard vanished.

She said the police mounted a search for Owusu who was arrested at his hideout at Santasi, a suburb of Kumasi, adding that upon interrogation, Oppong admitted taking 5,000 dollars and not 8,716 dollars from Obeng.

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