A 52-year-old man who allegedly posed as a journalist working for the Daily Graphic and duped a public official of GH¢400 has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
The man, who gave his name as David Kelly Nortey, has been attending programmes and events to allegedly extort money from event organisers and prominent personalities on the pretext of publishing their stories in the Daily Graphic.
Two weeks ago, he is said to have attended a church service on the Spintex Road and introduced himself to the congregation as a journalist from the Daily Graphic who was paying them a visit to report on their church activities.
It was after the church service that he came into contact with the public official who wanted him to carry a story about some scammers who had duped him of thousands of Ghana cedis.
The official (name withheld) claimed to have fallen victim to the alleged fraudsters, who used social media, especially Facebook, where they posted pictures of destitutes and needy persons and used the pictures to solicit funding from unsuspecting members of the public.
According to the public official, who is also a pastor and charity worker, he had already reported the fraud case to the police in Cape Coast, from where the fraudsters operated.
To stop them from further defrauding more people, he sought Nortey’s assistance to publish his ordeal, since Nortey claimed he worked with the Daily Graphic.
In a spirited manner, Nortey agreed to assist and exchanged phone numbers with the public official, assuring him that the case of fraud was something the Daily Graphic would be interested in following.
Nortey then called at the office of the public official last Monday and said the Editor of the Daily Graphic was interested in the story.
Then he is said to have demanded GH¢200 from the public official to facilitate the publication of the story.
After Nortey had been briefed on the incident, he later called the public official the following day and said the Daily Graphic had reported the incident to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), which had assigned an officer to go with him (Nortey) to Cape Coast to track the fraudsters.
He, therefore, requested GH¢190 for the trip and was given transportation of GH¢200 through mobile money transfer.
Immediately after the transfer, the official said something struck him to do a background check on Nortey.
He quickly called up a friend and former employee of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, whose checks revealed that the Daily Graphic did not have any correspondent by the name Nortey.
The confidence fraudster did not stop there but mustered the courage to call up the public official last weekend, with the request to go to the official’s office to brief him on how the investigations in Cape Coast had turned out before publication.
Having fixed 11 a.m. yesterday for the meeting, the official alerted the CID and the acting Editor of the Daily Graphic, who dispatched two men to go and help the police and the public official to identify and pick up the suspect.
When Nortey arrived for the meeting yesterday, two plainclothes men and the journalists from the Daily Graphic were already sitting in the official’s office, posing as people who had also been duped by the Internet scammers.
Unaware of what was in store for him, Nortey reiterated that he had, indeed, gone to conduct investigations in Cape Coast and was ready with a story for publication.
During interactions, he said he had worked with the Editorial Unit of the Daily Graphic and that his News Editor was Mr Ransford Tetteh. (Mr Tetteh is rather the acting Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd.)
Having confirmed from the journalists from the Daily Graphic that Nortey did not work for the paper, the detectives arrested him for impersonation and defrauding by false pretence.
When questioned, he said he was a freelance journalist who had been practising for over 10 years and only wanted to help the public official.
He could, however, not remember any recent journalistic work he had done and which medium he had published the work.
“I was trying to help,” he said, and admitted that he had not reported the case to the BNI, neither had he been to Cape Coast.
He said he was a resident of Mataheko in Accra.
He was subsequently handcuffed and sent to the CID Headquarters in Accra for further investigations.