23.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Mason remanded for fraud

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Accra, March 23, GNA - An Accra Circuit Court on Wednesday remanded a mason in prison custody for allegedly collecting 11 million cedis as clearing charges from a businessman under the pretext of giving him a parcel containing 25,000 dollars (226.3 million cedis) to enable him to buy land for an alleged friend of the complainant.

The money was allegedly concealed in electronic equipment shipped from Italy.

Julius Nyalegbedzi, alias Julius Caesar, 25, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and defrauding by false pretences.

Two accomplices who were named as John and Fred are on the run. The court, presided over by Mr Asiedu Kumi said he was remanding the accused to assist the police in their investigations and also to help trace his two accomplices.

Police Chief Inspector Helena Sarpomah told the court that the complainant in the case, Mr Joseph Amissah is a businessman, who lives in the same area in Accra with Nyalegbedzi.

She said on June 26, last year Mr Amissah received a telephone call from one John in Italy, who introduced himself as a long time friend when he was in Ghana. He also claimed that he had confidence in Mr Amissah.

Chief Inspector Sarpomah said John stressed that since he did not trust any of his family members, the complainant should purchase two plots of land and two stores for him and he would transfer to him 25,000 US dollars (226.3 million cedis) to buy the properties.

Chief Inspector Sarpomah said the accused told the complainant that he would conceal the money in a DVD machine, which he would have to clear and, therefore, needed a good clearing agent.

The Prosecutor said the man who called mentioned one Osei as his clearing agent and gave the man's code number for the complainant to contact him.

She said when Nyalegbedzi and Mr Amissah later met, the agent demanded 1,200 US Dollars (11 million cedis) as clearing charges to be paid before handing over the parcel to complainant.

The Prosecutor said Mr Amissah informed the accused on phone, but the accused told him that he was busy and therefore, sent one Fred to meet him at the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange to deliver the parcel that contained 25,000 US dollars and collect the 11 million cedis.

She said when Fred succeeded in collecting the money, he and Nyalegbedzi shared it, with Nyalegbedzi taking five million cedis, John taking three million cedis and Fred three million cedis.

Chief Inspector Sarpomah said Mr Amissah reported the matter to the police when he later found out that there was no money in the parcel, which turned out to be an obsolete machine neatly parcelled.

She said on June 16, last year, Nyalegbedzi was arrested and has since been assisting the police in their investigations, adding that John and Fred are on the run.

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