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14.12.2004 Crime & Punishment

Australian, 78, remanded for fraud

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA- A 78-year-old Australian resident in the country who collected 4,200 dollars from a spare parts dealer, under the pretext of obtaining United Kingdom visas for him and his sister, was on Tuesday remanded in prison custody by an Accra Circuit Court. Norman Hallet, unemployed, denied the charge of defrauding by false pretences. He will reappear on December 20.

Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector Elizabeth Akologo told the court presided over by Mr Nathaniel E.K. Osam, that the complainant, Mr Frank Ayim, deals in vehicle spare parts, while the accused, also known as Dave Court, who has lived in the country for over four-and-a-half years is unemployed.

The Prosecutor said about four months ago, Mr Ayim received a foreign telephone call on his mobile phone from someone who identified himself as Nana Ameyaw, who claimed that about two years ago, he bought shock absorbers from him (Mr Ayim). He said the man said he was calling from London.

The Prosecutor said Norman proposed to do healthy business with Mr Ayim and, therefore, requested that he should fax to him a list of vehicle spare parts that had ready market in the country so that he would buy and ship them to the complainant to sell for the two to share the profit.

She said after the complainant had faxed the list the accused invited complainant to London to assist in buying the parts.

The prosecutor said Norman then gave a telephone number to enable Mr Ayim to contact a white man called Dave Court, who allegedly worked at the British High Commission, to assist him to secure a British visa.

Chief Inspector Akologo said Norman also told Mr Ayim to add a woman to join him on the trip to London. Mr Ayim's sister expressed interest and was included.

Norman charged a total of 6,200 dollars for the visas and claimed that Nana Ameyaw had already paid 2,000 dollars leaving a balance of 4,200 dollars.

She said the accused then sent a Ghanaian to Mr Ayim who identified himself as Norman's houseboy to collect the passports of the complainant and his sister and cash of 200 dollars.

The prosecutor said three weeks later, Norman called the complainant on phone and told him that the visas were ready and should meet him with the 4,000 dollars.

The accused sent his houseboy with photocopies of the visas to the complainant who became convinced that they were genuine. The complainant then accompanied the houseboy to meet Norman at the SSNIT Guest House where the money was collected from him.

Chief Inspector Akologo said after Norman had collected the money from Mr Ayim, he told him to wait at the SSNIT Guest House while the two went for the visas. However, when he sat there for several hours without the accused and his boy showing up, he realized that he had been duped. The prosecutor said it was not until November 22, that Mr Ayim saw Norman in a car in traffic in Accra and he rushed to alert the police who arrested him.

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