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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Businessman in trouble over $1m gold scam

File photo: Gavel

An Accra Circuit court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a businessman, Alhaji Siba Yahaya, for allegedly defrauding some foreign investors in a more than $1million gold scam.

The bench warrant was issued after Yahaya had failed to appear before the court to which he had been summoned.

The court presided over by Mr Emmanuel Essandoh, issued the bench warrant yesterday, following an application by the prosecuting officer, Inspector Eric Pobee, who noted that the defendant was absent from defending the charge against him.

Facts

Presenting the facts of the case to the court, Mr Pobee said two investors from the United Kingdom and their business partners were introduced to Alhaji Yahaya in 2020 as a businessman who traded in gold.

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The investors indicated their interest in buying gold bars from Yahaya and subsequently travelled to Ghana, on Yahaya’s request, who also demanded they meet him in person for negotiation in respect of the transaction.

In February 2020, Yahaya and an accomplice, Samuel Asante, now at large, met the investors and showed them 20 kilogrammes of gold bars.

The foreign investors expressed their readiness to buy five kilogrammes of the gold, for which Yahaya and his accomplice demanded and collected $69,000 as initial part payment of the value of the gold.

After receipt of the money, they promised to export the gold to the foreign investors, who would take delivery of it in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. But they ended up exporting only one kilogramme of gold to the investors.

Yahaya explained that he could not export the appropriate quantity of gold because of delays in the documentation process by Customs officials at the Kotoka International Airport and promised to export the remaining quantity to the investors on December 3, 2020, but failed to do so.

The suspect, Alhaji Siba Yahaya

He later requested for $130,000, being the outstanding payment for the four kilogrammes of gold and also took $70,000 from the investors to guarantee the export of the rest of the gold.

When he failed to honour his word, he indicated that he had been unable to export the gold, as there were no airlines to export the gold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yahaya also claimed the waybill to facilitate the export of the gold could not be accepted by the Precious Minerals Marketing Company, as the quantity was too small, so he would add six additional kilogrammes of gold to bring the total to 10 kilogrammes for easy export.

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On July 17, 2020, Yahaya told the investors he had been arrested by INTERPOL and officials of some security agencies and the gold bars had been confiscated.

To facilitate the release of the gold, he demanded various amounts of money and later indicated that the gold bars had been released to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which was demanding $300,000 before releasing the precious mineral to him.

The investors sent the $300,000 to Yahaya, bringing the total amount sent to him to $1,075,000, but he failed to fulfil his promise, leading to his arrest.

He was then charged with conspiracy to defraud by false pretences, defrauding by false pretences and selling and buying minerals without licence and bailed.

He was expected to appear before the court but failed to do so.

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