Court adjourns GH¢1.4 m fraud case against retired engineer

An Accra circuit court has adjourned to August 31, the case of Mohammed Aminu Bonkanu, who allegedly collected over GH¢1.4 million from a retired civil engineer, under the pretext of facilitating his appointment as the Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).

When the case was called on Monday, prosecution led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare, and defence counsel Mr Kojogah Adawudu were absent, but accused was present.

The trial judge, Mr Emmanuel Essandoh adjourned the case to August 31.

Bonkanu, accused, 37, claimed he would give the GH¢1.4 million to Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister, to acquire a licence for the complainant, who is also former GPHA boss, to operate an oil marketing company.

Accused is said to have demanded and received a total cash of $132,000 equivalent of GH¢726,000, £5,000 equivalent of GH¢31,150 and GH¢500,000.

The police, however, said when the Senior Minister was contacted, he denied knowledge of the matter, and also of the alleged phone numbers used in committing the offence.

Bokanu, who was facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and two counts of money laundering,  had denied the charges, and had been admitted GH¢1.4 million bail with four sureties, who are to be public servants earning not less than GH¢2,000 a month.

The court ordered accused to deposit his passport with the court’s registry and report every Wednesday to the police.

Prosecution earlier said, the complainant was Alhaji Huseini Suleiman while the accused resides at Sapieman in Accra.

He said in March this year, the complainant reported to the police that Bonkanu had demanded and received cash totalling over GH¢1.4 million under the pretext of giving the same to the Senior Minister to facilitate his appointment as the Director-General of GPHA.

The prosecution said Bonkanu was arrested, interrogated and a caution statement taken from him.

According to prosecution investigations revealed that somewhere in 2017, Bonkanu introduced himself as a National Security Operative to the complainant.

He said accused claimed that due to the nature of his job as a National Security Operative, he could connect businessmen to high profile personalities in government, including Mr  Osafo Maafo for appointments and promotion of businesses.

The prosecution said “in his quest to defraud complainant, accused person mentioned government officials, including Samira Bawumia, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, and Sarah Adwoa Safo, Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya, as his associates”.

Prosecution said Bonkanu informed the complainant that he has already held discussions with the Senior Minister and that he should expect a message from the Senior Minister.

He said the complainant received a WhatsApp message purportedly from the Senior Minister confirming allegedly that accused has discussed with him, the complainant’s appointment as Director-General of GPHA and the acquisition of the oil marketing licence. – GNA

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