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EOCO launches manhunt for Lebanese national jailed for fraud

Source The Ghana Report

The Economic and Organised Crime Office(EOCO) has begun searching for a Lebanese man convicted of fraud charges.

Naji Khalil, the convict, was put before the Accra Circuit Court on August 5, 2020, after investigations into a series of his offences.

In April 2019, a victim Dr Khadidja Katir, an Algerian national, reported to EOCO and alleged that she had been defrauded by an organised crime group based in Ghana comprising four suspects, Naji Khalil, Nabil Zayani, Abraham Faouri and Tony Michaelis to the tune of USD138,000.

This was done under the pretext of airlifting ‘rough crystals’ worth USD 4 billion to her in Malta.

After several telephone calls after the victim had transferred the money, the accused refused to pick up calls from her.

However, on one occasion, when they finally picked up her call, they threatened to kill her if she ever set foot in Ghana.

Despite the threats, the victim, Dr Khadidja Katir, arrived in Ghana, where she lodged a complaint at EOCO for investigation.

Investigations confirmed that the suspects are members of an international organised crime syndicate that defrauds members of the unsuspecting public.

Mr Khalil and his accomplices were charged with conspiracy to defraud by false pretence, defrauding by false pretence, participating in an organised criminal group, and conspiracy to commit a crime, to wit, money laundering.

The court, presided over by His Honour M.E. Essandoh, sentenced him to jail for five years with hard labour on two counts of Conspiracy to Defraud by False Pretence and Defrauding by False Pretence.

The convict was tried in absentia because he jumped bail during the trial and the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

According to a statement from EOCO, “The three (3) others were at large at the time of the court action and therefore were not available to take their pleas.”

“This office is hereby appealing to the general public for assistance towards the arrest of the said convict to serve his just prison terms,” the statement appealed.

EOCO has also urged anyone with information on the convict to contact their offices directly.

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