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Internet fraudster granted GH¢50k bail

The Kaneshie District Court Two has granted a GHS50,000.00 bail with two sureties to a communication handyman (satellite installer) over alleged internet fraud.

Emmanuel Dawson, who is also charged with stealing, hacked the Facebook account of one Ben Punalar to extort monies ranging from GHS100.00 to GHS5,700 from nine friends of the complainant.

Dawson was ordered to report every Monday to the Police until the final determination of the matter.

He has denied stealing, unauthorized access to Facebook and e-mail accounts of Punalar, denial of access to Punalar’s Facebook and E-mail accounts as well as dishonestly appropriating the funds of the nine persons under the pretext of using it to resolve an emergency.

Police Inspector Apewa Achana told the Court presided over by Ms Ama Adomako Kwakye that the victims were Jasmin Wassana, Musibawu Iddrisu Salami, Prince Mbah, Mac-Foel Gilve, Vivian Tenarku, John Laino, Jojo Sam, Jerry John and Henry Ayitey.

He said the Complainant is a Police Chief Inspector stationed at Osu District Criminal Investigation Department(CID) whilst the accused person claimed to be a self-styled installer(communication handyman) and lived at Kasoa in the Central Region.

The prosecution said in September 2021, the complainant detected that Dawson had hacked into his Facebook and E-mail accounts as Ben Punalar and benpunalar: @gmail.com respectively and lodged a complaint, adding that the investigation disclosed that the accused had chats with phone contacts of Ben Punalar and gave out his phone number for monetary assistance by pretending to be the complainant.

Inspector Achana said Dawson told the victims he had travelled to Elubo and had no network to use a phone so he needed assistance from them to send money to his wife on his behalf and when he returned, he would pay back.

All this while, Dawson, pretending to be Ben Punalar, collected money from the friends of the complainant, totaling GHS6, 800.00 and when the accused realised that he was being tracked, he stopped, the Court heard.

The prosecution said on June 6, 2022, the accused person again started chatting with the complainant’s friends on the complainant’s social media account, demanding and collecting money, until he got to a phone repairer who was also a Facebook friend of the complainant.

He said the complainant had given his phone out for repairs, stating that initially, the phone repairer did not know it was the accused he was chatting so he informed him that he had finished working on his phone.

Dawson seized the opportunity and told the phone repairer to get a motor rider to send the phone to his wife at Kasoa and add a new I-phone.

The repairer became alarmed, knowing that the complainant did not live in Kasoa, thus, he quietly informed the complainant, and an operation was planned for the arrest of the accused person.

Inspector Achana said Police and the rider arrived at Kasoa and called the accused person who also directed the rider to meet him at Kasoa police station.

The prosecution said when the rider got to the police station and placed a call, the accused person answered and walked toward him to collect the phone which led to his arrest.

He said when Dawson was checked, the number he had been giving to people to send money to, was his phone number.

After investigation, the accused was charged with the offences and put before the court.

His counsel in applying for bail said his client was a young offender, had a permanent place of abode, had people of substance to stand as sureties and was a family man who had two kids.

However, Prosecution objected to the bail and said with Dawson’s expertise in electronic devices, he might interfere with in investigations when granted bail.

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