I AM NOT A FRAUDSTER – Catherine Afeku
Former Member of Parliament for Evalue-Gwira constituency, and her husband, Seth Afeku, on Sunday, walked into the offices of The Chronicle and gave a vivid account of what transpired between them and the US couple, Patricia and Bill Gick, that resulted in the latter taking legal action against them to recover US$217,464.00 being expenses on the former, arguing that “it was just a friendship gone bad.”
The Afekus, according to a court presided over by her Lordship Barbara Ackah-Yensu, were guilty of fraud and were ordered to pay the US couple US$217,464.00 plus interest in 2006.
But seven years down the line, after failing to pay the amount in full, the Ghanaian couple were once again dragged to court by the plaintiff with a fifa application to compel the court to auction their properties (both movable and immovable) to defray their cost.
Patricia and Bill Gick had given the power of attorney to a native of Axim, one Lokko, to represent their interest.
But the Afekus, in an exclusive interaction with The Chronicle, said their woes started when their friendship with the US couple went bad.
The former MP, narrating her ordeal, said she returned to Ghana from the United States of America, in the company of David Thomas, whom their friends (Patricia and Bill Gick), had entrusted into her hand.
David Thomas, she noted, was visually impaired and was legally declared blind by the US government, and so “does not work” but lived on government allowances as part of the social welfare intervention programme.
According to her, when they arrived in the country, they had a short stay in Kumasi before moving to her native town, Axim.
While in Axim, she introduced him (David Thomas) to the chiefs as part of an integration plan she had put in place.
To fast-track the integration process, David Thomas, according to Mrs. Afeku, was named Kodwo Ayekumi at a ceremony spearheaded by the Omanhene of Axim, before taking him to live with them in Kumasi.
According to Mrs. Afeku, with David Thomas in their fold, life was a little unbearable since the US$40.00 a week she was earning from her small internet cafÃ© business was just not enough to sustain them.
Hit with the above challenge, she complained to David Thomas’ parents to come to their aide, but that was after the US couple had enquired from her the difficulties she was encountering in managing their daily upkeep.
Continuing, Mrs. Afeku said in 2005, the US couple arrived in Ghana to have a first-hand experience about the way she was managing the home and the business that she and the family were living on.
“When she (Patricia Gick) saw the internet cafÃ©, she was shocked and quickly organized herself to inject some money into the business to enable us generate enough to sustain the family,” Mrs. Afeku noted.
An emotional Mrs. Afeku further told The Chronicle that the visit of the US couple further strengthened their friendship until a conflict ensued, during one of her visits to the US.
“Whenever I was tired and needed to travel for relaxation, Patricia would send me air tickets to cove my travel expenses to spend two or three weeks with her. She spent some money on me and all that,” she explained.
According to her, during one of her visits to the US, Patricia informed her of a plan she had to help expand her business back home in Ghana.
The said plan, Catherine explained, was the registration of an NGO called Polymath Enterprise Limited, bearing same business name as that of the internet cafÃ©, where they could get free computers for the expansion drive.
To introduce her to the US business community, “Patricia took me to a big business forum and in that forum, NBC television station spotted me wearing a Kente cloth and so they decided to interview me.
But Patricia intervened and instead, opted to be interviewed, since she was the one who brought me to the forum. So I snapped and said: ‘look! Patricia, you cannot talk to me that way. You are the one who brought me here alright but they wanted to talk to me. If you have any problem, you can go to Ghana for your son and get out of my life. That was where my woes began.”
At that time, Mrs. Afeku noted that they had already secured about 200 free computers for the expansion drive, “but I told her point blank that I cannot be treated like a slave so I walked off and flew back to Ghana.”
She said two weeks later, Patricia also flew to Ghana to protest vehemently to Awurae Atibrukusu, Paramount chief of Lower Axim, for my snubbing her company. “That was where the troubles intensified,” she asserted.
According to her, Patricia, incensed by her posture (Mrs. Afeku) and largely depending on hearsay from her detractors, gave the power of attorney to one Mr. Lokko to sue me and claim back all the money she has spent on me all these while.
She said the case was already prejudiced, because the presiding judge was not ready to listen to her side of the story. “It was purely political to pull the break on me from contesting the Evalue-Gwira Parliamentary seat,” she noted.
Asked why she did not appeal to the ruling, she said she was advised not to do so since that did not stop her from contesting the parliamentary seat.
She told The Chronicle that her family had paid half of the above mentioned amount, but due to some challenges, they were not able to continue paying, resulting in the fifa application against them.
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