28.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Pastor falls victim to a 419 syndicate

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Tema, May 28, GNA - The Tema Regional Police have arrested three persons including two Nigerians suspected to be members of a '419' syndicate that duped a 61-year-old pastor of 41 million cedis and 5,000 dollars.

They are Michael Akimba, 32 and Ola Olayemu, 21, both Nigerians, and Benjamin Nartey, 30.

The Police are however, on the look out for a fourth person, Ibrahim Banjul, who is suspected to be the leader of the scam.

Speaking to reporters, the pastor (name withheld), said he received a call in the middle of this month from one Amoah who claimed he worked with a Hong Kong-based company, which was interested in investing in real estate development in Ghana and wanted him to be its representative.

The pastor said in one of their communications, Amoah asked him to give 41 million cedis to one Nana Sarpong, one of their partners in Kumasi, as part payment for 10 kilos of Gold which should be sent to the company in Hong Kong later.

He said when the time came for Amoah to refund his 41 million cedis, he promised to send it together with 5.5 million dollars, which would be seed money for the real estate project in Ghana. He said following an agreement to meet and give him his money, Michael and Nartey appeared with a big parcel, which was sent to them via a foreign courier service company and demanded 5,000 dollars before releasing it.

The pastor said he opened the box only to find in it black papers, a cotton wool, a chemical and certificate of Global Refinery Company, which bore instructions as to how the black papers could be processed into dollar bills.

He said realising that the deal was a scam and in order to get the culprits arrested, he agreed to meet Nartey to give him 10,000 dollars so that he could help him process the papers. Nartey agreed to meet him and was arrested by the police when he showed up.

The Regional Police Commander, ACP Daniel Laryeah Odai, confirmed the story.

He said it was during interrogation that Nartey mentioned Banjul and Michael as the brains behind the scam.

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