Crime & Punishment of 2018-02-13

Court acquits businessman Stephen Korankye of fraud charge

A licenced gold dealer and managing director of Adoas Mining Company Limited, Mr. Stephen Korankye has been acquitted and discharged from a fraud charge leveled against him by a Korean businessman.

A circuit court in Accra, presided by his honour M.E. Essandoh upheld a submission of no case by his counsel after the police had charged him with defrauding by false pretence.

Korankye was arraigned before the court in September 2016 on the count of defrauding by false pretence contrary to section 131 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29.

The court heard that he had entered into an agreement to supply a Korean businessman, Kelvin Park, six kilograms of gold at $250,920, out of which he supplied only one.

According to the judge, “A person defrauds by false pretence if by means of false pretence or by personation that person obtains the consent of another person to part with or transfer the ownership of a thing".

He said while false pretence may take several forms, including words, personation, conduct and sign, two ingredients establishes the charge;

That there was false pretence on the part of accused, or that

The consent of another person is obtained by false pretence.

The judge maintained that the prosecution had a duty to prove that the accused had the intention to defraud.

Explaining false pretence, the judge said the Supreme Court of Ghana has explained in ARTHUR V. STATE (1961) 1GLR 316, that "If a statement or representation is made which to the knowledge of the person it is false and by this means is obtained and the person who gives that money does so in reliance and on the false statement as representation, that is sufficient to support a charge of obtaining money by false pretence". But he said in the case against Korankye, he did make a statement and proved with evidence to the satisfaction of prosecution that he was a gold dealer.

He quoted Prosecution Witness No.1 as saying in his evidence before the court: "Accused showed me gold bars. I was convinced he is a gold supplier”.

He said while Korankye upon that representation was given the $250,920, he also supplied part of the gold, a fact also supported by the star prosecution witness.

"When the document was brought to us we saw 1 kilo of gold instead of 6 kilos as agreed upon. I questioned accused and he said he wanted to be sure the gold will get to the right address. Accused said the delay was due to some problems."

The judge said by this, there was no intent on the part of Korankye to defraud since he supplied part of the consignment under the business transaction.

The judge concluded that it was very necessary for the prosecution to have led evidence to prove the intention on the part of the accused to defraud, failing which he acquitted and discharged Korankye.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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