An Unemployed man, Mohamed Ussif Kantoosi, 34, who posed as the former Executive Secretary to President John Mahama, Dr Raymond Atuguba and defrauded the Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian to the tune of GH¢14,000, has been sentenced to 20 years.
The Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs. Abena Oppong Adjin–Doku, also sentenced him to pay 100 penalty units for falsely pretending to be a public officer or in default serve two years.
The court also handed him five years for defrauding by false pretences and 15 years for attempt to commit crime.
She said the prosecution had provided enough evidence to prove the guilt of the accused person by bringing credible witnesses to testify.
The judge observed that the accused person, who denied the offence, did not bring any witnesses to the court to corroborate his story.
She said the evidence of Kantoosi, who had earlier admitted to police that he received money from the Chief Director, was not believable and consistent.
Kantoosi, the prosecution said, got in touch with the Eastern Regional National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman, Alhaji Sumaila, and asked him to get him some laptops and Samsung Galaxy phones, estimated at about GH¢58,000 to be sent to Bole-Bamboi.
He was arrested after the NDC chairman called a lady named Georgina Opoku Asor to make the items available to the suspect. Ms Opoku reportedly suspected foul play.
Kantoosi was charged with pretending to be a public officer, attempting to commit crime and defrauding by false pretences.
The prosecuting officer Chief Inspector Samuel Sarkwah told the court that the complainant in the case is Georgina Opoku Asor, a fashion designer, while Kantoosi is unemployed.
He said on July 7, 2014 the accused person managed to get the cell phone number of Alhaji Sumaila, and called him and presented himself to the chairman as Dr Raymond Atuguba, the former Executive Secretary of President Mahama.
Chief Inspector Sarkwah told the court that the Kantoosi told the chairman that the President had asked him (Dr Atuguba) to get some computers, iPhones and Galaxy phones to be sent to Bole-Bamboi in the Northern Region.
The police officer said the NDC Chairman then gave the complainant’s cell phone number to the accused person to contact her for the items.
The chairman called the complainant and informed her that Dr Atuguba would call her in connection with some items so she should expedite action.
In addition, he said Kantoosi called the complainant and told her he was Dr Atuguba and that the President needed those items to be sent to the North urgently.
Furthermore, the Inspector noted that the complainant organised and had all the items mentioned in the charge sheet—valued at Ghc58,090.00—ready and called the accused to give her a written note to confirm the request for the items.
He stated that the accused person asked the complainant to meet him at the Flag Staff House on July 8, 2014 with the invoice of the items and that the complainant went to the Flag Staff House but Kantoosi called her that he was in a Cabinet meeting and that she should drop the invoice at the front desk.
In addition, he said the accused person later called the complainant and started offering her some jobs and mentioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which the complainant turned down because she was not qualified.
Kantoosi then purportedly offered her a job at the Harbour, which the complainant again turned down.
This, according to the prosecutor, aroused the suspicion of the complainant, prompting her to contact authorities at the Flag Staff House to report her ordeal to them. The BNI was reportedly alerted at this point. According to the prosecutor, the complainant later told Kantoosi that she had dispatched the items to Tamale by STC so he should send someone to pick them.
Explaining further, he said the accused person then told the complainant that he had instructed the accountant to effect payment of the items to her by July 15, 2014.
Sarkwah observed that on July 10, 2014 the accused person sent his younger brother Mumuni Sumalia to pick the items at the STC yard, where he was arrested by BNI operatives and he in turn led the BNI operatives to the accused at Katariga, a suburb of Tamale, and Kantoosi was subsequently arrested. In his caution statement, the accused person admitted the offence.
The prosecutor noted that in another case last year, the accused used the same modus operandi and defrauded the Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian, of Ghc14,000.