The two men who impersonated former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen K. Opuni have been handed a total of seven years imprisonment.
The convicts, Christian Obeng, a businessman, and Latif Apulala, a driver, were said to have created a fake Facebook account in the name of the former COCOBOD boss and used it to dupe people under the pretext of securing jobs for them at the COCOBOD.
The Accra Circuit Court last Friday sentenced them after they were found guilty, reports Graphic Online’s court reporter, Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson.
They had pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit crime while Obeng pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of impersonation, but the court held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt to ascertain their guilt.
Obeng, the mastermind behind the scheme, was slapped with a five-year jail term, while Apulala, the one tasked to be collecting money from the victims, was jailed for two years.
Both of them were also ordered by the court, which was presided over by Mrs Ruby Naa Adjeley Quaison to sign a bond to be of good behaviour or in default serve another year in prison.
The prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Stephen Kwame Adjei, told the court that on February 26, 2016, someone reported to the police that he had seen a Facebook account with the username “Stephen K. Opuni” with a picture of Dr Opuni.
But when Dr Opuni was contacted, he denied having any such account or ever signing up for Facebook.
According to the prosecutor, Obeng, through a conversation on Facebook, promised to secure a job for the informant at COCOBOD if he paid GH¢4,000. The police then told the informant to feign interest in the deal.
“Obeng told him to meet his messenger at Achimota with his application letter and an initial payment of GH¢3,500 to facilitate the process. The informant went to the meeting place and found Apulala, who was immediately arrested,” he said.
Mr Adjei stated that Apulala was made to call Obeng to inform him that he had gone for the money. Obeng subsequently told Apulala he would meet him at home for the money.
“Obeng showed up four hours later and he was arrested,” he added.