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15.03.2006 Crime & Punishment

"Police Officer" in court for stealing Benz car

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Accra, March 15, GNA - A trader who claimed to be a Senior Police Officer on Wednesday appeared before an Accra Circuit Court charged with stealing a Mercedes Benz E-Class valued at 280 million cedis by false pretences. The accused Robert Nana Kwame Tekyi-Mensah had earlier expressed interest in buying the car, which was for sale and lured the complainant, Abubakari Salisu Chota to the Police Headquarters for final negotiations and payment where he bolted with the car after requesting for a test drive. His plea was not taken and the Court remanded him in Police custody to re-appear on March 30.

Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) George Abavelim told the Court that in August 2005, Chota's father, who is based in Italy, brought the car home to be sold. ASP Abavelim said Chota placed for sale notice on the car with his contact phone number. He later received a phone call from a man, who claimed to be a Senior Police Officer at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and wanted to buy the car. ASP Abavelim told the Court that negotiations started on the phone and the price was initially pegged at 280 million cedis but was later reduced to 260 million cedis.

Some months later Tekyi-Mensah approached Chota and introduced himself as the driver of the Senior Police Officer, who dealt with him and had asked that the vehicle be brought to the CID Headquarters for final negotiations, testing and payment. ASP Abavelim said Chota and a friend joined the vehicle, which was driven by Tekyi-Mensah to the CID Headquarters and parked in the yard. He said Tekyi-Mensah then took them to the reception and offered them a seat and said he was going to call the Senior Police Officer. Tekyi-Mensah returned later to tell them that the Officer to buy the car was busy but had asked that they waited for him while an auto electrician at the transport section checked on a red light appearing on the dashboard to see what was wrong.

ASP Abavelim said the car was sent to the transport yard where Tekyi-Mensah asked for an auto electrician and later a Constable was called to drive test the vehicle. He said the Policeman agreed and both of them boarded the vehicle, which was driven by the Constable. On reaching TV3 area at Kanda, Tekyi-Menash managed to trick the Constable to get down from the car after, which he quickly drove away leaving the Constable behind. Tekyi-Mensah then drove the car to Kumasi where he sold it for 140 million cedis and collected a part payment of 100 million cedis and promised to bring the original documents on the car later before collecting the difference of 40 million cedis. Tekyi-Mensah then went into hiding until he was arrested in February 2005 for a similar offence. He later led the Police to Kumasi where the vehicle was recovered from the garage of a car dealer. The car had been sprayed blue black instead of the original ash colour.

Mr Abavelim disclosed to newsmen that Tekyi-Mensah was facing trial at another court in Accra under the name Nana Kwame Mensah for defrauding another person of more than 400 million cedis.