An Accra Circuit Court presided over by M.E. Essandoh, has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of two Accra-based lawyers over an alleged $2 million estate fraud.
The order was given after the lawyers – Charles Opoku Yeboah and Larry Apaloo – had failed to appear before the trial judge to answer to charges on alleged fraud relating to the sale of four houses in a compound located at Osu, Accra, to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Koala Shopping Centre.
The suspects reportedly sold the house at $2 million and were paid $1 million initially, with the help of an estate agent, Stephen Kwame Addo, without the knowledge of the true owners, Selina Serwah and Mercy Amofoa.
The estate agent, Kwame Addo, was charged with conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretences; and is currently on bail while the trial judge, not happy with the fact that the lawyers had failed to appear in court, issued a bench warrant for their arrest.
Yeboah is expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and issuing of dud cheque, while Larry would be charged with abetment of crime.
Inspector Joyce Kowornu, the prosecuting officer who presented the facts of the case, told the court that the complainant is the CEO of Koala Shopping Centre and a resident of East Legon and Addo is an agent while the two other suspects are lawyers who are residents of Accra.
She said the late Ebenezer Agyarko Saka, father of the two owners of the said houses, bequeathed them to the children, adding that the houses were later affected by litigation which was still on-going.
According to her, on March 4, 2011 one of the owners, Selina Serwah, granted power of attorney to the agent, Addo, and asked him to lease a land belonging to her at Nkawkaw and to also contact the American Embassy who were her tenants on one of her properties.
She said Addo took advantage of that and forged her signature which he then gave to Yeboah, and he (Yeboah) also informed Apaloo who in turn informed his friend – the boss of Koala – about the sale of the said property.
Inspector Joyce Kowornu said knowing very well that there was litigation over the property, the accused persons sold the house to the complainant for $2 million without the knowledge of the owners.
In addition, she explained that Larry took $200,000 and gave the $800,000 to Yeboah, who pocketed it while Larry prepared the Sales Agreement.
The prosecutor disclosed that the complainant later visited the houses and saw “Not For Sale” notice written on the walls of all the houses so he demanded his money but he did not succeed in getting it back and so he reported the matter to the police on August 2, 2013.
Narrating further, the prosecutor said the owners denied giving the suspects power of attorney to sell the houses and asserted that a police forensic laboratory test on the signatures on the documents – purportedly signed by the two ladies – revealed that they were forged.
The Inspector stated that Yeboah issued a Zenith Bank cheque for the complainant to cash after admitting that they took money from him.
She said when the Koala boss went to the bank, the cheque was not honoured.