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08.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

American dragged to Court for failing to pay hotel bills

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Accra, March 8, GNA - An American who lodged at Shangri-La Hotel and absconded without paying his hotel bills totalling 178 million cedis on Tuesday appeared before an Accra Circuit Court charged with fraud and issuing a dud cheque.

James Mitchell, a Communication Engineer, pleaded not guilty. The court admitted Mitchell to 240 million cedis bail with two sureties to reappear on March 17.

He was ordered to report to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service every Wednesday.

The case of Police Chief Inspector Benedicta Akolgo is that Mitchell arrived in the country on March 20, last year, to explore the telecommunication, timber and construction industry.

The prosecution said Mitchell lodged at the Hotel and was offered a room at 70 dollars a night.

According to the prosecutor, Mitchell took advantage of a facility that allowed clients who stay long at the hotel to pay on Fridays and defaulted.

On December 24, last year, he issued a Barclays Bank cheque with face value of 12,000 dollars but it was dishonoured.

The prosecution said when Mitchell was informed about the incident, he stayed on and gave several excuses.

On January 1, management of the hotel realised that Mitchell had absconded with the key.

On February 26 he was to the Airport Residential area upon a tip off.

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