Businessman swindles Catholic priest, parishioners of GH¢100,000

A self-style businessman, who defrauded a Catholic priest and parishioners of the Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, Osu, Accra, of GH¢100,000 was yesterday granted bail by an Accra circuit court.

Nii Ayi-Bontey, accused, was granted GH¢20,000 bail with two sureties, who have been directed to deposit their valid photographs, ID cards and accurate addresses with the registrar of the court.

The self-styled businessman allegedly collected the said amount in collaboration with accomplices, Rexford Acquaye, who claimed to be a staff at the Jubilee House, and one Yeboah, both at large, under the guise of selling 10 auctioned cars to the priest and some members of the church.

Nii Ayi-Bontey, who is expected to appear again in court on September 11, 2018, has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretence, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Chief Inspector Martin Acheampong said in March, this year, the Catholic priest travelled to Cape Coast , where he met Acquaye, and he (Acquaye) disclosed to him that he could assist him buy auctioned cars, since he knew the man in charge of the transaction .

The court heard that the priest and Acquaye exchanged   telephone numbers, and when the priest returned to Accra, he informed the church members about the auctioned cars.

He said they also informed other parishioners, who showed interest in the transaction.

Chief Insp Acheampong said the priest invited Acquaye to Accra, and he arrived in the city with Nii Ayi-Bontey and Yeboah, who met the priest and parishioners.

Prosecution said   Nii Ayi-Bontey told his victims that that he was a lawyer attached to the Presidency in charge of auctioned cars, and that Acquaye had informed him about their desire to buy cars.

The court heard that Nii Ayi-Bontey told the priest that a Toyota Corolla was being sold at GH¢10,000.

He said the victims requested to buy 10 cars, and in April, 2018, Nii Ayi-Bontey and his accomplices brought three cars to the priest and collected GH¢100,000 from him.

Chief Insp Acheampong said the accused asked complainant to provide passport pictures of the prospective buyers for registration before he could release the remaining seven cars.

Prosecution told the court that members of the church provided the pictures, and Nii Ayi-Bontey and his accomplices took them to the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority together with the cars, and asked them to wait outside.

Chief Inspt. Acheampong said accused escaped with the two cars, leaving the parishioners with only one car.

He told the court that accused later told the priest and parishioners that they bought a stolen car and threatened that if they failed to return the car, their names would be published in the media.

 

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