Crime & Punishment of Friday, 13 October 2017
An Accra Circuit Court on Wednesday handed a six-year jail term, to one Michael Punke, a 51-year-old German Businessman for defrauding by false pretence.
Michael was said to have conspired with three others now at large and defrauded three persons of various amount of money in Accra.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges but the court found him guilty and sentenced him accordingly.
Michael is to serve five years for conspiracy and six years for defrauding by false pretence, all in hard labour. The sentence is to run concurrently.
The facts of the case as presented by Police Superintendent Rebecca Nyamah are that the complainants are Prosper Hedze, Abdalla Swalla, Dr Amamoo Okyere and Williams Oti-Boateng, while the convict is a self-employed German living at Tetegu.
She said in January 2016, a syndicate of the accused person called Prosper and introduced himself to him as Joe Mensah, a Purchasing Officer, at Bui Power, and told the complainant that his company needed pipe sealants for a project and that he had already discussed it with his boss, being the convict, that he the complainant could take up the contract and supply the sealants to them.
She said Joe then gave the phone to Michael to speak to Prosper, who introduced himself as Fernando Lopez, the Chief Executive Officer of Bui Power.
Prosper requested and met Michael at the airport. Michael told him to get a sample of the product for him to inspect.
She said the syndicate, then gave Prosper the phone number of one Kumi as the only person from whom the sample could be bought. Prosper bought the sample from Kumi at a price of GH¢24,000.00.
The prosecution said a few minutes afterwards Michael and his syndicate swiftly discarded their SIM cards and as at now the numbers they used were still not activated.
Superintendent Nyamah told the court that the same procedure was used on Abdalla in April 2016, to part with cash, an amount of GH¢31,640.00. Unlike Prosper, Abdalla was asked to buy just one sealant at a cost of GH¢2,000.00 for him to inspect.
She said Michael met Abdalla at the airport, paid him GH¢2,200.00 and collected the sample.
In the evening of the same day, Michael calls Abdalla and requested that he should get him 36 pieces of the sealants, however, he was able to buy only 12 pieces out of the 36 pieces at a price of GH¢24,000.00 from the syndicate of Michael, called Kumi.
Superintendent Nyamah said Michael told him that he had sent him money for the product through DHL with additional amount Gh¢15,000.00 to take care of all charges.
She told the court that one Boniface called Abdalla a few minutes afterwards claimed that he was to deliver a parcel from Michael to him. He demanded and collected an amount of GHC 7640.00 as DHL charges.
Superintendent Nyamah said a few hours later, the convict and his syndicate disposed of their SIM cards.
According to the prosecution, Okyere also became a victim in March 2012 through the same modus of the convict. Another syndicate by name Charles Kwansah called Okyere and introduced himself as a former student of the complainant at the University of Ghana.
She said Charles told Okyere he was working at Bui Power and that his company needed stabilizer rings, and that he had already discussed it with his boss being, Michael that he Okyere could take up the contract and supply them with the products.
She told the court that the said Charles passed him over to Michael on the same phone, who requested to see a sample of the product as usual.
The said Charles gave a phone number of another syndicate by name Appiah as the only person from whom the stabilizer rings could be bought. Okyere then bought the rings at a price of GH 16,500.00 from the said Appiah.
Superintendent Nyamah said Michael met the complainant at the airport and confirmed the sample was perfect and asked Oyere to meet him the following day for his money.
The convict and his syndicate discarded their SIM cards and up to date, the numbers were still not reachable.
She said the modus on William was not different from the above victims. Michael and his syndicate used the same method to defraud William of an amount of GH¢36,000.00.
During investigations, the convict denied the offence. But William was able to record the voice of the convict when he spoke to him on phone.