Businessman in court for $60,000 fraud
A 55-year-old businessman who allegedly defrauded three foreign nationals and a Ghanaian of $60,000, under the pretext of clearing 60,000 metric tones of rice locked up at the Lome Port on Tuesday appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.
Benjamin Tetteh Quaye, who is facing four counts of defrauding by false pretences, possessing forged documents, and deceit of public officer has pleaded not guilty.
The court presided over by Mrs Elizabeth Ankomah remanded Quaye to prison custody to reappear on July 20.
When the court asked where the money was Quaye said he had invested it in the rice project.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr A. A. Annor, the prosecutor, told the court that somewhere last year, Quaye approached the complainants, Aaron Berry, and Christian Boregaro, from the United Kingdom, Michael Goorhius from the Netherlands and Randy Kwei, a Ghanaian, saying that he was a businessman and an importer who needed $68,000 to pay for a penalty imposed on his 60,000 metric tones of rice locked up in the Lome Port.
The prosecution said Quaye promised the complainants that he would pay them as soon as the rice was released.
To convince the complainants, Quaye showed them the bill of lading, certificate to import and other clearance certificates covering 10,000 metric tones of rice.
In addition, Quaye also offered his land title certificates to Mr Kwei as collateral which was later found to be fake.
While Mr Berry gave the accused $35,000, Mr Goorhius gave him $20,000 Mr Boregaro, $4,000 and Mr Kwei $1,000.
The prosecution said the accused after collecting the money started “playing hide and seek” with the complainants. They suspected foul play and reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service and he was arrested at his hideout.
During Police investigations he maintained that the rice had been impounded at the Lome Port and challenged the police to crosscheck.
On June 29 this year a team of police investigators from Ghana Interpol went to Togo with the accused for further clarification and they detected that all the documents covering the rice were fake.
When Quaye was quizzed, he mentioned one Kofi John Amouzou as the one who provided him with the fake documents.
Amouzou, however, turned out to be someone on the wanted list of the Togo police.