The Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has launched a search to arrest one Benjamin Bluwey Quashie, who is alleged to have used the names of top government officials and political party functionaries to defraud people.
Quarshie, who is on the run, is said to have used the names of the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Presidential Staffer, Dr. Clement Apaak, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo and Colonel Mbawine Atintande, a former Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, at various times, to dupe people.
The suspect, said to have acted as a staff of the Flagstaff House who works with some of the named officials, duped the victims under the pretext of helping them to secure auction cars, tractors, contracts, and clear goods at the ports.
According to the CID, an investigation was launched into the activities of Benjamin Bluwey Quashie, also known as Dr. Benjamin Quashie, after a businessman, name (withheld) reported that he had been defrauded by the suspect to the tune of GH¢216,300.
The victim first reported the matter to the Citizens’ Complaints Centre, after which the Centre referred the matter to the CID after conducting its preliminary investigations which described Quashie as a “sophisticated fraudster.”
Quashie was once arrested in 2010 for posing as a staff of the National Security Council Secretariat and staff at the Castle, to defraud some unsuspecting people to the tune of GH¢67,200, under the pretext of aiding them in various ways, including securing confiscated cars, jobs and travel documents.
In the latest case, ASP Joseph Benefo Darkwa, Public Relations Officer of the CID, who confirmed the investigations, told The Ghanaian Times that Quashie is suspected have defrauded a number of people using his fake identity.
Per his modus operandi, Quashie usually invites the victims to meet him at the Flagstaff House to transact business, but only meets them at the car park.
In the case under investigation, the CID indicated that the victim, who is a contractor and estate developer, got to know Quashie late last year through a surveyor at the Survey Department, who introduced Quashie as a BNI operative and Flagstaff House staff who could help him deal with some problems associated with the registration of his land at Kpone-Katamanso.
After managing to convince the victim about close association with the top shots, Quashie took a total of GH¢ 2,900 from the victim to pay off land guards and register the victim’s company for him, but failed to deliver.
Thereafter, Quarshie informed the victim about an auction exercise which the government was undertaking. During that time, the CID indicated that the victim, who was also planning to purchase some vehicles for his company’s operations, paid a total of GH¢162,200 for three tractors, one pick-up truck, one KIA truck and a land cruiser.
But the suspect failed to deliver the vehicles after receiving the money, and concocted stories to the effect that there was a holdup on the auction exercise.
While the victim was waiting for the vehicles, the CID indicated that Quashie, in Febuary this year, informed the victim about an enlistment exercise for the Ghana Army, of which his bosses, including the Chief of Staff, Dr. Apaak and Mr. Asiedu Nketia, have been offered quotas.
The victim gave him four people who he charged GH¢4,100 each, out of which he was given a part payment of GH¢12,300, but failed to deliver.
According to the CID, the victim became suspicious about the attitude of Quashie, but Quashie kept on making up good stories.
At a point, he invited the victim to a meeting with Mr. Asiedu Nketia at the NDC Headquarters, but the victim ended up waiting in the car while Quashie went into the building. He called the victim into the building only to tell him that he had been able to sort out the delay issues and that all the requested auction vehicles would be released.
“He again called me to inform me that his boss General Mosquito (Asiedu Nketia) has given him a job and he needs a loan of GH¢70,000 which he will repay within a week after executing the contract”.
“When I constantly demanded the money after the time limit, he gave me a cheque on the account of his organisation, Breaking Barriers Africa, which was not honoured, after which he promised that his boss will pay me in cash,” the complainant said in his statement.
In addition, the complainant said one of his sites at Kpone-Katamanso had a problem with the signing of the indenture, and Quashie took GH¢ 24,000 to be given to the Regional Minister to plead with him to sign the document.
After that, the CID said Quashie booked an appointment with the victim for the delivery of the auction vehicles, but Quashie never turned up at the venue while his phones were off. After inquiring about him at his house at Ablemkpe in Accra, the victim was told by the suspect’s wife that Quashie had travelled to South Africa.
According to Quashie’s facebook page, he is the Executive Director of African Youth Chamber, and Founding Partner & Director of Breaking Barriers African Project.
Dr. Clement Apaak, for his part, denied knowledge of the suspect, saying his checks indicate that he is not and has never been a personnel of the Flagstaff House.
He cautioned the public to be careful in dealing with such characters who claim to be working for top officials and demand monies to perform some functions.
He asked all those affected by the criminal activities of Quashie to report to either the Citizens Complaints Centre or the CID for action.
By Edmund Mingle