A 37-year-old man has appeared before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly collecting over GH¢1.4 million cedis from a retired civil engineer.
He duped the engineer under the pretext of facilitating his appointment as the Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
Mohammed Aminu Bonkanu, the accused claimed he would give the money to Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister to acquire a license for the complainant who is also former GPHA boss to operate an oil marketing company.
The accused is said to have demanded and received total cash sum of $132,000 equivalent of GH¢726,000, £5,000 equivalent to GH¢31,150 and GH¢500,000.
The Police however said when the Senior Minister was contacted, he denied knowledge of the matter and the alleged phone numbers used in committing the offence as his.
Bokanu is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretense and two counts of money laundering.
Bonkanu has denied the charges and was admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢1.4 million with four sureties who are to be public servants earning not less than GH¢2,000 a month.
The court presided over by Emmanuel Essandoh ordered the accused person to deposit his passport with the court’s registry and report every Wednesday to the Police. The trial was also adjourned to July 20.
Kojogah Adawudu, counsel for Bonkanu prayed the court to admit the accused to bail and that he was ready to provide people to stand surety for him and also appear before the court to stand trial.
He was of the opinion that the facts as narrated by the prosecution did not support the charges.
Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare opposed to the bail saying granting the accused bail would amount to his acquittal.
ASP Asare said the accused is involved in similar reported cases and when granted bail he would not appear to stand trial.
According to prosecution it was not automatic that when one appears in court he would be granted bail.
The prosecution said the court has the power to decline bail if it felt that the accused would not appear to stand trial.
Prosecution further assured defense counsel that he would furnish them with all the documents for the trial to commence.
He disagreed with defense counsel that the facts as narrated did not support the charges.
The Prosecution said the complainant is Alhaji Huseini Suleiman while the accused resides at Sapieman in Accra.
He said in March this year, complainant reported to the Police that Bonkanu had demanded and received cash totaling over GH¢1.4 million under the pretext of giving same to the Senior Minister to facilitate his appointment as the Director-General of GPHA.
Prosecution said based on that Bonkanu was arrested, interrogated and a cautioned statement taken from him.
According to prosecution, preliminary investigations revealed that somewhere in 2017, Bonkanu introduced himself as a National Security Operative to the complainant.
He said the accused claimed that due to the nature of his job as a National Security Operative, he could connect businessmen to high profile personalities in government, including Mr Osafo Maafo for appointments and promotion of businesses.
In furtherance to that, the prosecution said the accused indicated that he could lead the complainant to Mr Osafo Maafo to assist him to secure an appointment as Director-General of GPHA and also acquire the license for the complainant to operate an oil marketing company.
“In his quest to defraud complainant, the accused person mentioned government officials including Samira Bawumia, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey who is the Foreign Affairs, and Regional Integration Minister, and Sarah Adwoa Safo, Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya as his associates,” the Prosecution said.
Prosecution said Bonkanu informed the complainant that he has already held discussions with the Senior Minister and that he should expect a message from the Senior Minister.
Subsequently, the complainant received a WhatsApp message purportedly from the Senior Minister confirming the discussion of the complainant’s appointment as Director-General of GPHA and the acquisition of the oil marketing license.
“The purported Senior Minister in a WhatsApp chat agreed to facilitate the complainant’s appointment as the Director-General of GPHA and various sums of monies through WhatsApp.demanded.
The said Minister instructed the complainant through WhatsApp to hand over all monies to the accused as his trusted agent,” the prosecution recounted.
According to prosecution, Bonkanu followed up and demanded as well as received the various sums of money for the purported senior Minister.
“Investigations had it that between 2017 and 2018, the accused person demanded and received cash in total of $132,000 equivalent to GH¢726,000, £5,000 equivalent of GH¢31, 150 and GH¢500, 000 for the purported Yaw Osafo Maafo.
Prosecution said investigations are ongoing.