Thirteen-member gang arrested at Kotoka over $5m fake currency
The National Security has busted a 13-member gang involved in the printing and distribution of fake currency notes to unsuspecting victims, mostly foreign nationals.
A statement issued by the National Security Secretariat said the gang, led by one Yassei Alia, a 45-year-old Syrian resident in East Legon, and owner of Hardford Auto Service in Accra, together with Danjuma Zakaria, alias Alhaji Mohammed, 49 and resident of Tema West, were rounded up in a warehouse within the premises of NacCharter Cargo and Freight Company, near KLM offices within the Kotoka International Airport, on Monday, April, 27 at around 1730 hours.
Freshly printed $10,000 bundles of fake $100 notes concealed in two large metal trunks and a suitcase were retrieved from the warehouse.
The statement said the amount was estimated to be over five million United States Dollars (USD).
Other suspected accomplices arrested during the operation include Esther Omozeea, Emad Aldalhi, Kamal Mohammed, Abdulai Yakubu Osman and Samuel Ababio.
The remaining are John Denyo, Desmond Delali Dumenu, Alike Happiness, Prosper Chukwu, Victor Israel, Padi Christian Holdbrook.
It said in their caution statements, Yassei and Mohammed, who drove to the warehouse in the former’s car, denied knowledge of the deal.
It noted that however when questioned separately, Yassei, who held a Syrian passport, a Republic of Guinea-Bissau diplomatic passport, and a Nigerian national driver’s licence issued in Ogun State, indicated that he had gone to the warehouse to have a discussion with one Kojo, an alleged cargo dealer and operator of the premises, regarding a V8 engine the latter was to import on his behalf, while Alhaji Mohammed stated that he had gone to solicit for financial help from Kojo to enable him procure a vehicle from Holland.
The statement said further, while Yassei claimed Kojo sat in a meeting with them on the said day, Alhaji Mohammed indicated that Kojo was not at the premises at the time of their visit and that while waiting for him, they were arrested.
It said incidentally, two of the suspects interrogated separately corroborated Mohammed’s claim that Kojo was not seen at the premises on the said day.
“The group’s modus operandi, according to intelligence, suggests that they lure unsuspecting victims with claims that they have access to millions of US dollars in Libya,” the statement said.
“Victims are given genuine sums of US dollars to spend for free, as a proof of the genuineness of the deal.”
It noted that once convinced, victims were requested to deposit huge sums of USD dollars as freight charges to aid the shipment of the said dollars to the victims. Upon receipt of the amount, the suspects packaged fake dollars stashed in between a few hundreds of genuine notes, for onward delivery to their victims.
Shortly after the arrest, one Bandoh, Alhaji-Ahmed, alias Alhaji Bamed, owner of Bamed Travel and Tours, who claims to be a Presidential Staffer at the Castle, and a client of Yassie, drove to the National Security headquarters, verbally assaulted the leader of the operation, and vowed to free the suspects.
It said the aggressive conduct of Alhaji Bamed, suggested that he might be involved in the deal, particularly when investigations are ongoing.
It said officials of National Security had assured Ghanaians that the Government was determined to rid the country of fake currency syndicates and warned that persons involved in the illegality would be arrested and dealt with accordingly.
The National Security has therefore urged the public to report suspicious activities of persons to security agencies to aid their arrest and prosecution.