A DAILY GUIDE/Nima Police collaboration has led to the arrest of a 419/Sakawa syndicate operating at Kokrobite, a suburb of Accra yesterday.
The syndicate, led by one Nana Azumbi aka Motia Father, had used the power of radio to defraud several unsuspecting persons of monies running into millions of Ghana cedis.
Many of them told DAILY GUIDE they fell victim to his pranks following enticing adverts consistently run on Asempa 94.7 FM, an Accra-based radio station, to the effect that he could solve financial problems.
When the suspects were brought down to the Nima Police Station after the Divisional Commander, ACP Awuni Angwubutoge had given his blessing to the arresting squad to strike, the entire station was turned into a cynosure as curious people ran over each other to catch a glimpse of the suspect and the two pythons belonging to him and being held in two separate boxes.
The 20-year-old man, who appears to have been in the sakawa business for a while now, was brought with his unregistered silver coloured Toyota Land Cruiser along with his accomplices.
Among his victims were Usman Adam, 26, and Mohammed Yakubu, 25, (both of Accra) who were defrauded to the tune of GHÃ‚Â¢3,000, and one Joseph, 37, and Kofi Nyame, 36, of Cape Coast, who lost GHÃ‚Â¢3,800 to the same syndicate.
Another victim based at Kasoa was defrauded to the tune of GHÃ‚Â¢4,600, while two other people at New Town and Pig Farm lost a total of GHÃ‚Â¢4,500
Nana Azumbi had pointed at his vehicle earlier when he told his clients that Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am a rich man and do not need any more money. Look at the vehicle I am using.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Excited about the police strike were two other persons, both of whom had lost a little over GHÃ‚Â¢68,000 to the young man.
The collaboration started after ACP Awuni Angwubutoge advised DAILY GUIDE to support the Police in fighting crime by informing his outfit first when anything untoward is reported to the paper before publishing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you rush to press with some stories, the suspects flee before we zoom in on them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When therefore the complainants came to DAILY GUIDE, the newspaper rushed to ACP Awuni who immediately summoned his Crime Officer and asked the complainants to narrate their story.
ACP Awuni said since the suspect had been advertising his business on a nearby FM station and the fact that a police officer can go outside his area of jurisdiction to fight a crime, he was going to strike.
He readied a team of policemen and provided them with adequate logistics and ordered it to move to the location where the man operates at Kokrobite the following day but advised the complainants not to tell anybody about their contact with the Police.
When the police reached the location the following day, they found slaughtered animals and fowls alongside the two snakes.
ACP Awuni, when his men called him on phone and told him about the two African pythons, asked them to bring them down to the station.
One of the complainants who lost GHÃ‚Â¢3,800 said he wanted to travel outside the country to get treatment for his deformed hand and when he heard the advertisement of the man on the FM station, he turned his attention to the place.
He sold his property to enable him foot the bill required for seeking the service of the suspect.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I reached his place, he first asked me to pay an amount of GHÃ‚Â¢50 which when accepted by the spirits, would vanish.
The money did vanish, suggesting that the spirits had accepted the money. I was then asked to provide money for the purchase of dwarfÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hair and a bottle of a special perfume which he said is brought from Niger,Ã¢â‚¬Â he told the Police before the action.
After providing all the necessary items through the payment of an amount about GHÃ‚Â¢900, he was taken to Kpone where at a special location which the young man owns, the complainant was taken through another ritual.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was about midnight and I was asked how much money I needed but when I asked for GHÃ‚Â¢100,000, the linguist or intermediary between me and the young man asked whether I was a fool to ask for a paltry amount of money. I then adjusted the demand to Ã‚Â¢5 billion,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He went through an elaborate procedure and a bag of money appeared.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was so scared that I began to shiver because I have never seen so much money in my life. I was told that it was Ã‚Â¢5 billion old Ghana cedis and even given a sample to feel. I ascertained that it was genuine money. I was then asked to present the special perfume to the young man but unfortunately, it got broken,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
The suspect then fumed and said with the breaking of the bottle of perfume, the procedure had to be reversed; at this stage, the wads of money vanished.
The victim was devastated and returned to Accra from the location but when he sought his money back, the matter became a hide-and-seek affair.
When the matter was reported to the Weija Police, the victims told DAILY GUIDE that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the personnel showed signs of a deal with the young manÃ¢â‚¬Â.
ACP Awuni would not comment on this aspect of the story as all he said was, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would do my job as a police officer; as for what others did or did not do, I cannot comment about that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The incidence of young men getting involved in esoteric pastimes is on the increase in the country, especially Accra.
Internet fraud, simply called Sakawa, has now gone esoteric, with young boys traveling as far as Benin Republic to sleep in coffins as prescribed by voodoo specialists in that country.
By A.R. Gomda & Bennet Akuaku