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Driver grabbed for defrauding businessman of over GH¢1m
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Driver grabbed for defrauding businessman of over GH¢1m

A 32-year-old driver, Bright Kwashie, is facing charges in an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly cheating a businessman of GH¢ 1,058,600.

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The businessman had entrusted Kwashie with funds to purchase vehicles, including a Toyota Rav 4, Mercedes Benz S360, Kia Picanto, together with four generator plants  which were being auctioned. However, Kwashie failed to fulfill any of the transactions agreed upon.

Present alongside Kwashie in court on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, before Judge Samuel Bright Acquah, was Divine Kwasi Agbeyagah, who allegedly assumed the guise of a customs officer to facilitate the scam. Kwashie faces charges of defrauding by pretence, while Agbeyagah is accused of abetting the crime.

Both defendants were granted bail set at GH¢ 100,000 each, with three guarantors, one of whom must be a landowner. The decision to grant bail was influenced by the involvement of the Attorney General's office, as the amount in question exceeded GH¢ 500,000.

The court has slated the next hearing for May 26, 2024.
 

Brief facts

The prosecution led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Maxwell Oppong said the victim, Philip Osabutey, is a car and general goods dealer. The first accused, Kwashie, is a resident of Odomi in the Oti Region, while the second accused, Agbeyagah is a teacher who lives in Nsakye, near Nsawam, and also from Odomi in the Oti Region.

He added that in March 2021, the complainant wanted to buy some vehicles and asked a friend, one Nicolas Atoo, for assistance. This friend who is also a witness in the case, introduced him to the first accused, Kwashie.

 He said Atoo described the first accused as someone who could help find the vehicles the complainant wanted to buy. The first accused later told the complainant that he had a friend in Customs Service named "Chief Atomi," who worked at the Aflao Customs Border Checkpoint, and could help get him auctioned vehicles.

 The vehicles, according to the prosecution, included a Toyota RSv 4 worth GH¢ 120,000, a Mercedes-Benz S360, worth GH¢ 395,000, a Kia Picanto worth GH¢ 16,000 as well as four generator plants from Togo. Kwashie also told the complainant that he needed GH¢ 67,000 for paperwork.

According to DSP Oppong, the complainant trusted Kwashie and paid an initial amount of GH¢ 70,000 to him, for which he provided a receipt. After that, the first accused, Kwashie, gave him 24 different phone numbers to send money to. The complainant allegedly sent a total of GH¢ 1,058,600 to those numbers but never received the vehicles or generator plants.

The prosecutor said on April 15, 2021, while waiting for the goods, Kwashie introduced the second accused, Agbeyagah, to the complainant over the phone, saying he was the said Customs Service officer who was also his uncle. The second accused, Agbeyagah, thus told the complainant he needed an additional GH¢ 22,300 to finalise the paperwork.

“When the goods never arrived, the complainant reported the case to the Police Intelligence Directorate, leading to Kwashie's arrest in the Oti Region, and his transfer to the Criminal Investigations Department's Auto Theft Unit.”

The prosecutor said his alleged accomplice, Agbeyagah, was also arrested on May 20, 2023, and admitted his involvement in the scam, saying he sent GH¢ 10,000 to Kwashie on his mobile money account and only got a commission of GH¢ 1,300.

The prosecutor added that police investigation revealed mobile money transactions from Agbeyagah's phone number to different people, including Richard Atigah, Samira Sulley, God; Love Ventures, Refuge Agbogah and Mohammed Abdul, which were then transferred to the first accused, Kwashie. “Kwashie, however, did not cooperate with police efforts to track down the other suspects,” the prosecutor said.

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