The names of President Mills and his political godfather former, President Jerry John Rawlings, popped up last Thursday at an Aflao Circuit Court presided over by Francis Obiri.
Their names came up over a fake crude oil deal in which some three persons have been arraigned for defrauding a businessman to the tune of 2800,000 CFA.
The three, Torbgui Nyatefeko Zogbla, farmer, Ibrahim Saed, footballer and Torbgui Awuvi Badagbor, farmer, have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretences.
The suspects, in their quest to defraud the complainant, introduced someone to him as a brother of ex-President Rawlings and later sent him to a place they claimed was the Castle where they intended meeting President Mills. Sergeant Awuni, prosecuting, said the complainant in the case is a trader and lives at Agbodeka in Togo while the first and third suspects live at Beat ‘9’ and Akosah Park, suburbs of Aflao.
The second suspect is a footballer and lives in Togo.
The prosecutor explained that somewhere last year, Zogbla a friend of the complainant’s, invited him to his house where he met Saed and Badagbor and introduced them to the complainant as his business partners who dealt in crude oil. They therefore asked the complainant to invest 1,500,000CFA in the crude oil business so that within five months, his money would double.
Two weeks later, the complainant brought the said amount which was received and a document titled STE I.G.C LTD, written in French, acknowledging receipt of the said amount and indicated it would be doubled to 3000,000 CFA within five months.
Later, they called the complainant and gave him a letter headed ‘Official Recognition by the National Petroleum Authority’ and dated April 3, 2009, assuring him that their business was on course. They later took the complainant to the Registrar General’s Office in Accra where only the suspects went inside the offices and returned to tell the complainant that all was well.
They later went to the house of one Michael Soussoudis where he was allegedly introduced to the complainant as the brother of former President Rawlings. Mr. Soussoudis is reported to have cautioned the suspects to do genuine business.
The suspects again asked the complainant to give them 600,000 CFA to enable them to go and see some powerful people at the Osu Castle. After giving them the said amount, he was taken to a place in Accra alleged to be the castle. He was however made to stand by the roadside of the alleged castle with Zogbla and Badagbor, while Saed went inside. He later returned to tell them he had finished arranging everything.
On his return, he gave the complainant a photograph of President Mills and a recorded CD of his swearing-in ceremony at the Independence Square.
They later made the complainant an advisor to the company and additionally gave him several letters, day after day, some headed, ‘Issue of Concern,’ ‘Alert Note,’ which were allegedly signed by Stanley Bannor, Chief Executive of Ministry of Energy and allegedly copied to Mr. Soussoudis and the first and second suspects.
The letters indicated widespread shortage of fuel.
These letters, the police said, were intended to convince the complainant of the reason for the delay in their inability to get the crude oil. Zogbla later took an amount 200,000 CFA from the complainant with the excuse of getting a land for him at Aflao for a building project so that when the complainant visited, he would have a place to sleep.
The complainant however became suspicious after several excuses were given by the suspects about their inability to get the crude oil on time, so he reported the issue to the Aflao Police.
The police later arrested the first suspect who mentioned Badagbor and Saeed as member and group leader respectively.During interrogation, they admitted to the offence but said the amount involved was 600,000 CFA.Police investigations, the prosecutor noted, indicated that all documents they used were fake.
Their investigation however confirmed STE.I.G.C to be a duly registered company in the names of Saeed and one Riguim Bilao who dealt in civil engineering, plumbing and road construction. At the court, the suspects pleaded not guilty to all charges and have been admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢12,000 with three sureties each.
They are to re-appear at a later date.