Court registrar sentenced to five years for fraud

An Accra Circuit Court has sentenced a Deputy Registrar of the Judicial Service, Samuel Agbah Otu, 58, to five years imprisonment for stealing GH¢46,000 from a businesswoman.

Otu who was stationed at the Agona Swedru High Court, stolen the money belonging to a Swedru-based businesswoman, Madam Rose Ami Kpogah who was the complainant.

He was earlier arraigned before a magistrate court where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of GH¢5,000 with two sureties.

Passing judgment Monday the presiding judge, Mr Francis Obiri, said the sentence would serve as a deterrent  to others especially staff of the Judicial Service who thought they could take advantage of their positions to commit crimes and get away with it.

Otu who admitted to committing the crime was ordered to refund the money to the complaint.

The deputy registrar was arrested on Tuesday, February 8, 2013, on the orders of the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Theodora Georgina Wood, following a petition to her by the businesswoman about the conduct of the registrar.

According to the prosecution, the businesswoman was desirous of purchasing a cold store during a judicial auction at Agona Swedru on February 10, 2011 on the orders of the High Court in Cape Coast.

It said Otu, then the registrar of the Cape Coast High Court, supervised the process of the auction of the cold store and after the petitioner had paid GH¢46,000, being the price of the facility, to Otu, he did not give her the certificate of purchase.

Rather, the registrar told the businesswoman that another High Court in Cape Coast had set aside the order, thereby rendering the judicial sale of the first High Court invalid.

The petitioner later requested for a refund of her money but the registrar disregarded her demand, claiming that the money had been paid through the bank into the Consolidated Fund.

Later, she was told that the money had been stolen from the drawer of the registrar.

Madam Kpogah, after waiting patiently for two years and not getting her money back, applied to the Agona Swedru High Court for an order of mandamus to order the registrar to pay, but to no avail.

She then petitioned the Chief Justice to assist her to retrieve the money from the Judicial Service, following which the Chief Justice called for Otu’s arrest and prosecution.

Story by Sebastian Syme

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