The fetish priest who defrauded a Prestea-based trader of GH¢21,540.00 under the guise of doubling the amount to GH¢80,000.00 for him, was yesterday jailed three months in hard labour by the Accra Circuit Court ‘One’.
Benjamin Doe, also known as Ben Doe, was again ordered to pay a fine of GH¢3,600.00 (300 penalty units) or serve additional two years.
He had refunded GH¢10,300.00 out of the GH¢21,540.00 collected from the complainant, Mr. Joseph Acquah, to buy some items to pacify the ‘money-doubling gods,’ but failed to fulfil his promise.
Mr. Aboagye Tandoh, who presided over the case, convicted the fetish priest on Wednesday, but deferred the sentence to yesterday.
The trial judge sent a strong signal to all those hiding behind the societal belief of gods or spirits to defraud people desperately in need of assistance, to stop their fraudulent acts.
He described the complainant as “a potential prey for spiritual predators” because he failed to work hard, and rather resorted to seeking quick money from the fetish priest who did not also allow him to go scot free, but ‘milked’ him dry of the money he wanted to double to expand his business.
Mr. Tandoh expressed regret that although the media played a major role in the country, it had opened the flood gates for charlatans parading as spiritualists to defraud innocent people through various advertisements on radio and television.
“The Ghanaian society is yet to come to terms that it is not everything that comes from the media that is true,” Mr. Aboagye Tandoh warned.
In a plea for clemency for his client, Mr. George Asomanney Counsel told the court that he had already advised the accused to be mindful of his gods and the potency of their powers, so that he would not fall into the temptation of luring people to his gods again.
Counsel urged that Benjamin Doe was a first-time offender and the bread winner of his family, as such he should not be given a harsh custodial sentence.
The fetish priest who lived at Adjen Kotoku, near Medie in the Greater Accra Region, initially demanded GH¢8,000.00 from Mr. Acquah to double it to GH¢80,000, and later collected GH¢13,540.00 to buy items to consult and pacify the gods.
According to prosecution, he mentioned the names of his gods as “abonsam sika”, “sika duro”, “dry pockets”, as well as “money doubling”, and asked the complainant to choose the one he wanted help from.
Mr. Acquah expressed interest in the god which could double his money for him to revive his business which had not been flourishing for some time now.
The court head that the complainant, a trader, saw an advertisement of the fetish priest on Amansa TV in February 2015, claiming that he could help people grow their businesses, with his telephone number spalshed on the screen for those in need to contact him.
Mr. Acquah called the fetish priest who directed him the house at Adjen Kotoku.
The complainant travelled from Prestea to Accra and met the fetish priest who showed him his gods and the work each did for his clients upon consultation.
The prosecution stated that the complainant opted for “doubling of money” and the fetish priest succeeded in collecting various sums at different times to the tune of GH¢21,540.00 to double it to GH¢80,000.00, but failed to live up to his promises.
Mr. Acquah reported the matter to the police when efforts to retrieve his money proved futile.
By Castro Zangina-Tong