Crime & Punishment Tue, 22 May 2012

Two ‘evangelists’ remanded for fraud

Kwabena Oppong, a shoemaker and Matthew Kweku Mensah, a taxi driver, were on Monday arraigned before a Circuit Court in Cape Coast for allegedly defrauding one Mr. John Arthur of GH¢900.00 by false pretense.

Oppong pleaded guilty to the first count of conspiracy to commit crime to wit: fraud by false pretenses, whilst Mensah pleaded not guilty to the same count but both pleaded not guilty to the count of defrauding by false pretenses.

Sentence has been deferred for Oppong whilst both have been remanded into police custody to reappear on Monday, June 4.

Prosecuting, Inspector Christiana Sampong told the court presided over by Mrs. Florence Kai Otu that, Mensah posed as one Evangelist Essel Lartey, an Evangelist at the Zion prayer camp in Komenda near Elmina, whilst Oppong posed as his junior pastor.

She said some months ago, Oppong introduced himself to one Mr. John Arthur as a junior pastor of Evangelist Essel Lartey and together with Mensah convinced him to part with an amount of GH¢900 to help heal his sick mother.

She said the two accused persons again succeeded in convincing another Mr. Hassan Lincoln, a brother-in-law to Mr. Arthur to bring his taxi cab for special prayers, which he complied.

Inspector Sampong said anytime Mr. Lincoln demanded his taxi cab, he was told they had not finished with the special prayers but the accused persons had rather engaged a driver to work with the cab which was generating money for them.

When the cab driver was accosted by Mr. Lincoln, he mentioned the accused persons as his employers but he (Mr Lincoln) managed to retrieve the taxi which was in a very bad condition, she added.

She said Mr. Arthur and Mr. Lincoln then became suspicious and managed to get into contact with Evangelist Essel Lartey who denied knowing either Oppong or Mensah, after which both were arrested.

Inspector Sampong said about two years ago, the accused persons through the same means succeeded in convincing one Mrs. Ashong to part with various sums of money in the guise of helping her business grow as well as for spiritual protection.

She said due to Mrs. Ashong's continuous compliance with whatever she was told by Oppong and Mensah, her 45-year-old marriage was eventually broken up.**

Source: GNA