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31.08.2004 NPP News

NPP Organiser Threatens Juju

By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Greater Accra Regional Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who suffered a citizen's arrest at Kpone and was later hauled before the Tema Community One Police for alleged visa fraud has issued juju threats on the lives of his accusers, saying that he would show them that he is a "typical Ewe."

"Hey! I think this Ernest guy wants to disturb me. I have to take action against him now. I will show him that I am a typical Ewe," he threatened. "That guy wants to joke with my life and I will joke with his life. He will surely pay for this, you can do these things to others and get away with it but as for me, he will pay dearly for it."

Albert Afaglo, the 39-year old organizer has been accused by some NPP supporters of defrauding them in the name of the Office of the President (Castle Osu) and the NPP.

It all began on August 21, 2003 when 30- year old Ernest Anim, a seaman based in Tema who was planning to travel to the United States (US) discussed with Mr. Afaglo that he was in need of a US visa.

Mr. Aflago readily introduced one Bernard Odarlai to Mr. Anim who was alleged to have the magic wand to secure a US visa which many Ghanaians dream to have in their passport.

According to a written statement he made to Tema Community One Police on May 24, 2004, Mr. Anim said the NPP organizer brought the "connection man" to his home and introduced him as a staff at Castle, which houses the Office of the President.

"Mr. Albert Afaglo and Mr. Bernard Odarlai demanded $4,500 from me, out of which I paid $1000 and £400 in my bedroom with my brother Opoku Anim as witness," he alleged.

Anim told the police that since paying the money, he had not been able to get hold of Mr. Afaglo and Mr. Odarlai and all efforts by him to get a refund of his money or the visa had failed.

Ernest Anim's brother, Frank Opoku Anim also wrote a statement to confirm that he was at home on August 21, 2003 when Afaglo brought someone who could secure the US visa.

"In my presence, they collected the money and that was the last time my brother and I set eyes on them. All efforts to get a refund failed," Frank Opoku Anim said

CASE TWO

Two months after that case was lodged against Afaglo, 53-year- old Mr. Samuel Asiedu Berko, a staunch NPP supporter and businessman, who resides in Tema also went to the same Police station and lodged another complaint of fraud against Mr. Afaglo.

According to him, Mr. Afaglo approached him and said he and "our party" were organizing a programme and that they intended to help acquire visa for some of the party members who wanted to travel abroad.

Mr. Berko said upon hearing the news from Mr. Afaglo he contacted a friend who brought his junior brother's passport and $2000. He gave the name of the boy as David Frimpong.

"The total charge was $5000. Around January 2004, he again requested for an additional $700, bringing the total amount collected from me to $2700," he added.

Mr. Berko further alleged that after these payments had been made to Mr. Afaglo, he told him in February 2004, that the visa was ready and all he was waiting for was a departure date.

However, he kept changing the date so he became suspicious and asked him to refund payments made to him, which he agreed.

"But instead of being faithful to his own word, he rather kept on playing hide and seek. He cut off all telephone contacts and I could not trace his whereabouts until July 24, 2004 when I happened to meet him at Kpone near Tema when somebody who has a similar case against him caused his arrest and so I also followed them to Tema where I have made this report."

DEFENSE

But in his statement to the police, Mr. Afaglo said that Ernest Anim contacted him to assist him secure a US visa, so he called his friend, Bernard Odarlai who had earlier on secured visas for Afaglo's brothers who currently live in Europe.

Mr. Afaglo continued that a date was set for Earnest to meet Bernard and on the appointed day, he sent Bernard to Tema where he met with Ernest and his brother.

"After a lengthy discussion, the complainant gave $1000 and £400 in my presence and he promised him one month to secure the visa. I called on the complainant to sign an agreement with Bernard Odarlai which they did and I witnessed." Afaglo said.

"Since Bernard Odarlai collected the money, he has failed to honor his promise and the people from whom he collected the money through me started pursuing me so I reported the case to the Ministries police station and Bernard was arrested and put before Cocoa Affairs Court C 3."

The Ministries police confirmed to The Chronicle that Afaglo had reported the case at the station but added that the case has been joined with the two others against Afaglo in Tema.

Other police sources told The Chronicle that even though Mr. Afaglo was the complainant in the case against Bernard Odarlai, he must be jointly prosecuted with Bernard for conspiracy to commit fraud.

In a phone interview last Monday, Mr. Afaglo told The Chronicle that when Ernest continued to pursue him, he asked Bernard to pay up the money but the cheque, which was issued to the complainant turned to be a dud cheque.

"This is why I have been added to the suit," he said, "and I don't understand why I should be joined in the suit. I was not even there when the cheque was issued" Asked whether he was aware that his role in linking visa applicants to "connection men" was illegal, he said as far as he was concerned, Bernard had arranged visas for his brothers to travel to Europe so he knew that he could do it.

Mr. Afaglo, however, denied that he introduced Bernard as a staff of the Castle. He added that he was convinced that Ernest Anim "wants to damage me, let him go ahead; yes I say let him go ahead, I will damage him too. Everybody has his own God, and I am telling you that I am a typical Ewe, I will deal with him."

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