THE Somanya District Court was last week the scene of pandemonium as hundreds of people thronged there to catch a glimpse of a 'priest' who had succeeded in duping a record number of 520 people in the total sum of ¢47.9 million.
It was not an easy matter for the police as many victims from Koforidua, Afife and other places trooped to the court precincts to demand justice.
Fred Simon Yevugah, the accused, claimed to be a director of Literacy Drive and Development Movement (LDDM), an NGO working at the Akuse Prisons.
He was said to have defrauded his victims under the pretence that he could arrange for them to receive loans ranging from ¢50 million to ¢200 million for their businesses.
Yevugah is already on record to have defrauded 13 other groups.
When he appeared before the court, he was remanded in custody to reappear on May 11, after the magistrate had refused his counsel's plea for bail.
The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Emelia Ebeheakey, said the complainant, the Yilo Krobo District Co-ordinating Director, informed the Somanya police that on January 25, this year, Yevugah introduced himself to some people at Somanya that he was a reverend minister from Accra and a director of LDDM who wanted to introduce an adult education programme in the area based on what his NGO was doing at Akuse Prisons.
The accused then formed groups and those who were convinced paid between ¢50,000 and ¢1 million each. The prosecutor said after refusing several invitations to meet the complainant, the accused was arrested by the Somanya police for further investigations. He was to report periodically to the police while investigations continued.
Chief Inspector Ebeheakey said during investigations, the Yilo Krobo District Social Welfare Officer said the accused went to her office on April 16 last year with a letter that claimed that Somanya had been selected by his organisation for an adult education programme.
The officer accordingly informed the accused about the requirements needed and the administrative procedures to follow to enable her office to start social investigations on the organisation's activities.
The accused was also asked to submit copies of the Registrar General's Certificate of Incorporation, the Company's Code and the brochure of activities of his organisation, but he failed to do so.
The prosecutor said the officer was therefore surprised when in November, last year she saw Yevugah's banner which sought to divert from the adult education programme to a micro credit scheme without the knowledge of the Department of Social Welfare.
She said on January 21, this year the officer called the accused and some of his executive members to her office and demanded a copy of the grant agreement letter from the donors on the proposed loan scheme.
Yevugah explained that the documents were in Accra and that he was going to submit them together with a recommendation letter to the district assembly, but he again failed to do so.
The prosecutor said on April 4, this year, the various groups of Yevugah's NGO submitted the list of names of members who were registered with the moneys he collected from them without receipts.
He was therefore re-arrested by the police.