EOCO hunts for Lebanese fugitive Naji Khalil
The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has launched a manhunt for a Lebanese described as a member of an international organised criminal syndicate that defrauds people.
Naji Khalil has been on the wanted list of EOCO since June 2022, after he was jailed for five years in absentia for fraud by an Accra Circuit Court.
Khalil, according to EOCO in a news statement released yesterday, was put before the court after investigations into a case reported established that he was a member of a notorious international organised criminal group.
He was alleged to be a member of a gang which included another Lebanese, Nabil Zayani, a Jordanian identified as Abraham Faouri, and Tony Michaelis, whose nationality is unknown.
Khalil and his accomplices were charged with conspiracy to defraud by false pretence, defrauding by false pretence, participating in organised criminal group, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit money laundering, and money laundering.
Khalil was put before the Accra Circuit Court, while his three accomplices were on the run.
On June 22, 2022, the court — presided over by Justice Emmanuel Essandoh — sentenced Khalil in absentia to five years imprisonment with hard labour on two counts of conspiracy to defraud by false pretence and defrauding by false pretence after he had jumped bail during the trial.
The court then issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
The facts of the case as presented to the court indicated that an Algerian, identified as Dr Khadidja Katir, reported to EOCO in April 2019, alleging that she had been defrauded by an organised crime group based in Ghana consisting of four persons.
The names of the suspects were given as Naji Khalil, Nabil Zayani, Abraham Faouri and Tony Michaelis.
She claimed she had been defrauded of $138,000 under the pretext of airlifting “rough crystals” worth $4 billion to her in Malta.
After she had transferred the money to them, the four persons refused to answer her calls on a number of occasions.
However, when they finally answered her call, they threatened to kill her if she ever set her foot in Ghana.
Dr Katir, however, came to Ghana and reported the case to EOCO.
In the statement, EOCO said investigations found that the suspects were members of an international organised criminal syndicate that defrauded unsuspecting persons.
EOCO has, therefore, appealed to the public to assist to get the convict arrested to serve his prison term.
It urged any person with information on the whereabouts of the convict to contact the office directly or through a helpline 0257044779 or its official WhatsApp line 057979066.