Man dupes former GPHA boss of GH¢1.4m

A 37-year old man has appeared before an Accra circuit court for allegedly collecting 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).

Mohammed Aminu Bonkanu, the accused, claimed he would give the money 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.

The accused is said to have demanded and received total cash sum of $132,000 equivalent of GH¢726,000, £5,000 equivalent to 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 the alleged phone numbers used in committing the offence.

Bokanu is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and two counts of money laundering.

Bonkanu has denied the charges and was 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 presided  by Emmanuel Essandoh ordered accused to deposit his passport with the court’s registry and report every Wednesday to the police, and adjourned the trial to July 20.

Kojogah Adawudu, counsel for Bonkanu, prayed the court to admit accused to bail, and that he was ready to provide people to stand surety for him and that he would appear before the court to stand trial.

He was of the opinion that the facts as narrated by the prosecution did not support the charges.

Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare opposed to the grant of bail saying granting the accused bail would amount to his acquittal.

ASP Asare said the accused is involved in similar reported cases and when granted bail he would not appear to stand trial.

According to prosecution, it was not automatic that when one appears in court he would be granted bail.

“It is not automatic that when one appears in court you should be granted bail immediately.’’

The prosecution said the court has the power to decline bail if it felt that accused would not appear to stand trial.

The prosecution assured defence counsel that he would furnish them with all the documents for the trial to commence.

He disagreed with defence counsel that the facts as narrated did not support the charges.

Prosecution 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 the 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.

“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,” the prosecution said.

The 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.

The complainant received a WhatsApp message purportedly from the Senior Minister confirming that accused discussion of the complainant’s appointment as Director-General of GPHA and the acquisition of the oil marketing license -GNA

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