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Businessman granted Gh?100,000?bail?over alleged fraud?

The Tema Circuit Court B has granted Michael Opoku Ofori, a 32-year-old businessman, Gh?100,000.00 bail with two sureties, one of which is to be justified, for allegedly defrauding an online rice trader.

The Court, presided over by Mrs Klorkor Okai-Mills, granted him bail after he had pleaded not guilty to the two counts of defrauding by false pretense and issuing a false cheque.

Inspector Jacob Kuubal, prosecuting, told the court that the complainant, Mr Daniel Appertey, and his business partner Ms Patience Sitsope Zartey, were traders in local rice, while Ofori was a businessman who resided at Sakyikrom Nsawam.

He said on March 17, 2023, Ms Zartey was contacted by Ofori through his Facebook account under the name ‘Opoku Clef,’ expressing interest in purchasing some of her advertised local perfumed rice.

Ofori ordered 120 bags of the 25-kilogramme local perfumed rice at Gh?450.00 per bag, making a total of Gh? 54,000.00.

He then requested the WhatsApp number of the witness, which he was provided with.

Prosecution said Ofori later requested that the invoice for the intended purchase be issued in the name of Owusu Agyekum, but the traders requested an in-person meeting to enable them to show him samples of the rice.

They, therefore, agreed to meet at the East Legon Hisense building on the Lagos Avenue Road on March 28, 2023.

On the said date, the traders were picked at the agreed venue by a young man in a taxicab to meet with the accused person in a house that was under renovation.

Prosecution said Ofori received the rice sample and invoice from the complainant in front of the house with the excuse that he was unable to invite them into the house because of the construction works going on.

Instead, the accused person took them to the A and C Mall to have further conversations on the intended purchase and later requested for the bank account details of the complainant, to enable him to transfer the total sum of Gh? 54,000.00.

On March 30, Mr Appertey delivered the 120 bags of rice to Ofori at a different
house also in East Legon upon his directions, after which he (accused) gave the complainant a GCB bank deposit slip showing that he had made payment into his account.

Further police investigations revealed that the deposit was fraudulent and not honoured by the bank after three days, unfortunately, by that time, he had already taken delivery of the rice and had later blocked the phone number of the traders, prosecution said.

He said Ofori belonged to a bigger syndicate, which the police had been investigating and that their modus operandi was to make orders of products online and lure their victims into delivering the products to them at locations suggested by them.

He said after such deliveries were made, they made payment with cheque slips, which were always dishonoured due to a lack of funds.

Efforts are still underway to arrest Stephen Nana Boadi Danso, a key accomplice of Ofori, who is at large.

Source: Ghana News Agency