Crime & Punishment of 2014-01-28

Fake customs recruitment agent arrested

A 29-year-old man who allegedly defrauded more than 30 people of thousands of cedis under the pretext of recruiting them into the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been arrested.

The suspect, Ransford Koranteng, is said to have charged each victim GH¢3,000 which the prospective customs officers were paying in installments.

Contract letter

Briefing journalists in Accra, the Chief Revenue Officer of the Customs Division, Mr Seidu Iddrisu, said the suspect deceived the victims that he was an agent for the GRA.

The suspect, according to the Mr Iddrisu, took the original certificates of some of the victims.

The victims were also said to have been sent to a forensic laboratory where their fingerprints were scanned with a view of making the recruitment exercise look credible.

Mr Iddrisu said some of the victims received “contract of employment” letters and were asked to wait for their appointment letters which were to be issued by the government.

Arrested with support of victims

He said the suspect was arrested last Friday after the Intelligence Unit of the GRA lured the suspect with the help of some of the victims whom the suspect had scheduled a meeting with.

Mr Iddrisu cautioned the public to be alert in order not to fall victim to such fraudsters and indicated that the Customs Division of the GRA had not mandated any agent to undertake a recruitment exercise on its behalf.

“GRA does not recruit through any agency. When we are recruiting, we do not take any money.”

Victims tell their story

One of the victims, who gave her name only as Elinam, said she had paid GH¢1,500 as part payment for the GH¢3,000 charge and an additional GH¢100 for the fingerprints exercise.

“I realised that he was a fraudster when a friend’s father who works at Customs saw the contract letter and confirmed that it was not coming from the GRA,” she lamented.

Another victim, Jessica Ativui, a senior high school graduate, who related the same experience, said she had paid GH¢1,750 while a third victim had parted with GH¢700.