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17.03.2006 Crime & Punishment

Fake "UN Envoy" jailed 25 years

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Kweikuma (W/R) March 17, GNA - A Sekondi High Court on Friday sentenced, Francis Ike Anwune, a 45-year-old man who claimed to be Computer Programmer, Lawyer and "United Nations (UN) Special Envoy of the Capital Development Fund" (UNCDF) to 25 years imprisonment for fraud. The sentence was to take effect from July 2005 when the accused was arrested. He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecuting, Mr Samuel P. Akuffo, a State Attorney told the court presided over by Justice Clemence J. Honyenuga that in June 2005, the accused arrived in Sekondi-Takoradi and claimed to be a UN Special Envoy responsible for Africa and Asia and had brought millions of United States dollars for interest free loans to individuals, organisations and groups as part of the UNCDF Millennium Development Project. Mr Akuffo said as a result, many people became interested and were asked to pay between 300,000 cedis and 65 million cedis, being 10 per cent of the commitment fee. The accused succeeded in defrauding 27 individuals and organisations to the tune of more than 253 million cedis.

Mr Akuffo said Anwune also presented himself as a Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General and had several insertions in his passport. He said to facilitate his operations, Anwune, acquired an office in Takoradi, hoisted a UN flag on the building and hired security personnel of Westec Security to protect the premises to the tune of 26 million cedis for which he failed to pay. The accused pledged to supply five Coaster Buses and five Toyota Hiace buses to the Takoradi branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union and asked them to pay a deposit of 60 million cedis.

Mr Akuffo said the accused collected another 39 million cedis from the Manager of the Takoradi Queens Hotel to supply him with air conditioners but could not fulfil his promises. He was, however, reported to the Police by some of the victims and investigation revealed that the accused is an impostor. Passing judgement, Justice Honyenuga said the attitude of some foreigners in Ghana was a disgrace to their country and themselves and directed that the accused should be deported after serving his prison term. He said a vehicle and other office equipment should be sold while money in his bank account should be refunded to the victims.