Fake currency syndicate busted

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Operatives of National Security have arrested a 13-member syndicate led by a Syrian national involved in the printing and distribution of fake currency notes to unsuspecting members of the public and most foreign nationals has been arrested.

The gang, allegedly led by one Yassei Alia, a 45-year-old Syrian resident at East Legon, and owner of Hardford Auto Service in Accra, together with Danjuma Zakaria, alias Alhaji Mohammed, 49 and resident at Tema West, were in a warehouse within the premises of NacCharter Cargo & Freight Company, near KLM offices within the Kotoka International Airport, when they were rounded up on Monday, April, 27 at around 17:30GMT.

Their arrest led to the retrieval of freshly printed $10,000 bundles of fake $100 notes concealed in two large metal trunks and a suitcase, from the warehouse.

The amount is estimated to be over five million USD.

Other suspected accomplices arrested during the operation include Esther Omozeea, Emad Aldalhi, Kamal Mohammed, Abdulai Yakubu Osman and Samuel Ababio.

The rest are John Denyo, Desmond Delali Dumenu, Alike Happiness, Prosper Chukwu, Victor Israel and Padi Christian Holdbrook.

In their caution statements, Yassei and Mohammed, who drove to the warehouse in the former’s car, denied knowledge of the deal. However, when questioned separately, Yassei, who holds a Syrian passport, a Republic of Guinea-Bissau diplomatic passport, and a Nigerian national drivers licence issued in Ogun State, indicated that he had gone to the warehouse to have a discussion with one Kojo, an alleged cargo dealer and operator of the premises, regarding a V8 engine the latter was to import on his behalf, while Alhaji Mohammed stated that he had gone to solicit for financial help from Kojo to enable him to procure a vehicle from Holland.

Further, while Yassei claimed Kojo sat in a meeting with them on the said day, Alhaji Mohammed indicated that Kojo was not at the premises at the time of their visit and that while waiting for him, they were arrested. Incidentally, two of the suspects interrogated separately corroborated Mohammed’s claim that Kojo was not seen at the premises on the said day.

Group operations

The group’s modus operandi, according to intelligence, suggests that they lure unsuspecting victims with claims that they have access to millions of US dollars in Libya. Victims are given genuine sums of US dollars to spend for free, as proof of the genuineness of the deal. Once convinced, victims are requested to deposit huge sums of USD dollars as freight charges to aid the shipment of the said dollars to the victims. Upon receipt of the amount, the suspects package fake dollars stashed in between a few hundreds of genuine notes for onward delivery to their victims.

Verbal assault

Shortly after the arrest, one Bandoh, Alhaji-Ahmed, alias Alhaji Bamed, owner of Bamed Travel and Tours, who claims to be a Presidential Staffer at the Castle, and a client of Yassie, drove to the National Security headquarters, and verbally assaulted the leader of the operation, and vowed to free the suspects.

Officials of National Security have assured Ghanaians that the government was determined to rid the country of fake currency syndicates and warned that persons involved in the illegality would be arrested and dealt with accordingly.

They urged the public to report suspicious activities of persons to security agencies to aid their arrest and prosecution.

Meanwhile, investigations to unravel the issue continue.

Frontpageghana.com/Ghana

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