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22.08.2005 Crime & Punishment

Okumkom for court today

Okumkom for court today

Kumasi, Aug. 22, Chronicle -- THE FORMER Mayor of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Nana Akwasi Agyeman, is expected to appear before the KMA Circuit Court today over another fraud case which a trader has brought against him. The NDC defector is facing trial on fraudulent representation, false claim of ownership, demanding and receiving an amount of ¢40 million for a property of which he is not the owner, among others.

The plaintiff, Mr. Samuel Amankwaah Yeboah, who is a resident of Abuakwa Old Town in Kumasi, has accused Nana Akwasi Agyeman a.k.a Okumkom of having fraudulently taken ¢40 million from him under the pretext of renting a storeroom at the European market in the metropolis to him.

In a 20-paragraph suit filed by Kofi Addo and Associates against the former Mayor, the plaintiff claimed that, somewhere in January 2002, he needed a storeroom to carry out his trade and was introduced to the defendant by their mutual friend, Kwame Nkrumah.

He continued that Okumkom was represented to him as an owner of a store at 'European market' opposite the Lands Department in Kumasi and demanded ¢30 million which he, the plaintiff, paid.

According to Yeboah, three months later, the defendant told him that there was a high demand for the property and therefore requested an additional amount of ¢10 million.

The trader, in dire need of the storeroom, subsequently paid the ¢10 million to the defendant, with no issuance of receipts on both payments from Nana Akwasi.

Mr. Yeboah averred that both payments were made in the presence of the said mutual friend (Kwame Nkrumah) who always received, counted and gave same to the defendant.

The former KMA boss then took the plaintiff to the designated store in the company of one Rosemary, a trader at Roman Hill; Lokko the defendant's driver and one Mr. Agyei, said to be a contractor engaged for some outstanding works in the storeroom.

Mr. Yeboah stated in Paragraph 10 of his claim that the defendant told him that the key to the storeroom was missing, therefore breaking into it.

Nana Akwasi Agyeman then requested the contractor to go on with the work assigned him, who consequently charged the plaintiff ¢9million.

He said in the statement that, he, the plaintiff, made part payment of ¢5 million to the contractor who duly commenced work on his behalf and at the request of the defendant.

But before the contractor could complete the work, the KMA authorities, headed by Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, stopped him.

Mr. Jumah, who was the Metropolitan Chief Executive at that time, told the contractor and the plaintiff that the defendant had no capacity to rent the said storeroom to someone as the title was vested in the name of KMA, not Akwasi Agyeman.

When the plaintiff told the defendant what had happened, Okumkom who was the Mayor of KMA during the days of the NDC, only asked him to exercise patience, promising to talk to Mr. Jumah. The defendant stated that he had since told the plaintiff one story or the other, failing to refund the plaintiff's money to him, despite repeated demands for it.

Meanwhile, Nana Akwasi Agyeman, in a 16-point statement of defence, has denied the claims of the plaintiff.

He claimed he believed the plaintiff was being used by his political opponents to discredit him as he had never transacted any business whatsoever with the plaintiff, which transaction Nkrumah witnessed, adding that the said witness was in collusion with the plaintiff to cast a slur on his image.

Nevertheless, several people believed that he could be guilty of the offence because of historical antecedence.

Some time in March, this year, Justice Ernest Yao Obimpeh, ordered Akwasi Agyeman to appear before his court over a similar fraud charge against him.

He and his wife were accused by one Madam Isabella Acquah of conspiracy to defraud her of ¢30 million under the same pretext of renting the woman a single storeroom at the “Doctor Mensah” area.