Dozens of farmers in the Northern Region, including a prominent unnamed chief, have allegedly been swindled by officials of Friends of Youth Vision Foundation (FYVF), a local non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Tamale.
Under the guise of providing the farmers with brand new tractors on hire purchase basis, the organization succeeded in taking huge sums of money from them but has since failed to deliver on its promise.
Attempts by the farmers to locate the officials or their acclaimed operational office in Tamale proved futile.
One of the victims from Nasuan, a farming community in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo district of the Northern Region, said Musah Abdul-Latif and Aminu Musah, who is the executive director of FYVF, sometime last year sold the idea to the farmers.
According to them, the men claimed they could supply brand new tractors to the farmers in the area at the cost of GH¢70,000 on hire purchase – on condition that they (farmers) could raise 50% of the total cost.
Per the arrangement, if the farmers were able to raise the initial amount, the tractors would be given to them and the balance be paid within three years.
A number of farmers allegedly bought into the idea and sank huge sums of money into the deal but till date they are yet to receive the tractors.
When the farmers were getting impatient the officials reportedly invited them to Tamale and demanded more money, promising to deliver if the last condition was met.
One of them was later given a TAFE tractor but a few days later, six armed military personnel were instructed to take back the vehicle. They were said to have met fierce resistance by the village folks.
Not satisfied with his inability to reclaim the tractor through unlawful means, the executive director reportedly lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Accra which also directed that the tractor be impounded by the Bunkpurugu police.
Investigations later revealed that the officials sold same tractor to a known Tamale chief and collected GH¢57,000.
Some of the farmers, realizing that they had been defrauded, lodged a complaint with the police and Musah Abdul-Latif and Aminu Musah were both arrested.
They admitted collecting monies from a number of farmers but were unable to give reasons for their refusal to supply the tractors to them.
They were accordingly arraigned before court on charges of defrauding by false pretences but the court granted bail to Aminu Musah, who has since jumped bail and is being hunted by the police.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale
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