An Accra circuit court has sentenced Bright Sarkodie, a driver at Santa Maria in Accra to five years imprisonment in hard labour for conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretence.
Four other alleged accomplices are currently on the run and being sought for by the police.
Sarkodie, who was sentenced in absentia, was ordered to refund the GH₵64,000. he took from businessman Nana Agyemang Duah of Diaso in the Central Region, under the pretext of selling him an excavator.
The court, presided over by Malike Awo Woanya Dey ordered that the convict be arrested and sent to prison.
Sarkodie was granted bail in the course of his trial on August 8, 2016, by Mrs Afi Agbanu Kudomor, but he absconded.
Prosecuting, Inspector Ayim Maxwell told the court that in June 2016, Nana Duah, the complainant, expressed interest to buy an excavator for his mining activities.
He said one Iddrisu introduced Nana Duah to the convict as somebody whose uncle deals in excavators.
The court heard that when the complainant contacted Sarkodie, he was told that his uncle had sold the one Bright wanted but said he knew a friend who was selling the type he wanted.
He told the court that Sarkodie told the complainant that he would sell the excavator at a fixed price of GH₵350, 000 and GH₵450,000 on credit, and asked Nana Duah to make an outright deposit of GH₵150,000 before the excavator was handed to him.
Based on this agreement, the prosecutor said Nana Duah paid GH₵64,000 to Sarkodie, but the convict did not issue Nana Duah a receipt.
Insp. Maxwell stated that the businessman told the convict he was going to mobilise the remaining GH₵80,000 to make up the GH₵150,000.
He said Sarkodie later invited the businessman to inspect an excavator parked in front of a house after which he (Nana Duah) left for Diaso.
The prosecutor said Nana Duah called the convict two days later that he had mobilised the remaining balance.
He told the court that on the day Nana and his witnesses came to Accra to meet Sarkodie and two others, security personnel arrested Sarkodie on allegations that Sarkodie and two others were dealing in counterfeit notes.
The policeman said Nana Duah lodged a complaint with the police upon realising that he was duped and Sarkodie was arrested, but Sarkodie denied the offence and said he took GH₵8,000 not GH₵64,000 from the complainant.
In passing sentence, the judge said she took into consideration the seriousness of the offence and modus operandi used by the convict to defraud the businessman.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA