A licensed US gold buying firm, Green Global Resources, has accused the Ghana Police of serious corruption at the highest level in the case of an alleged GHc 1.3 million gold scam.
Addressing the press today [Tuesday], the Director of Strategy and Business Development of Green Global Resources, James Barbieri noted that “in this situation, a lot of senior police officials and some other junior ranking officials, some including BNI officers, were allegedly protecting the scammers.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”mZJcjAAoYzbvagXIWkS3XIWFN3l95goo”]”Unfortunately the country of Ghana is the real loser here because your security services are apparently corrupt and cheat potential investors and drive this potential away by protecting the scammers and these police corrupt officials,” he said.
This gold scam case led to the interdiction of the then-East Legon Police Commander, DSP Emmanuel Basintale, and 6 others after they seized 13 gold bars from the firm under the pretext that they bought stolen gold. The group is believed to have been led by DSP Basintale.
However, James Barbieri gave new information to the effect that the alleged leader of the fraud syndicate, one Courage Kobby, has been let off the hook by the police in a move he says highly suggests that he is in collusion with the police hierarchy.
Mr. Barbieri said he was disappointed with how the new Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante Apeatu, has dealt with the case so far, despite the assurances he gave when he assumed office.
Mr. Barbieri also called on the President to act quickly to ensure delivery of justice since the case could thwart the drive for foreign investment into the country.
“It must be stated categorically that, the 13 boxes of gold that was confiscated have still not been returned to Green Global Resources Ltd. and we believe it is in the possession of the Police Service. We are therefore calling on the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Mr. David Asante Apeatu, Inspector General of Police and Mr. Bright Oduro, Director-General of the CID, to act on the information provided above to act upon to retrieve our money or the bars of gold are given to us,” he said.
Investments could suffer
Green Global Resources has noted that it has a lot of investments and is ready to do legitimate business in Ghana “but the managers are becoming apprehensive whether they can come and continue to invest in Ghana or not.”
“If the perpetrators of this scam are not brought to book, it will have an effect on the country’s image which may heighten the fears of potential foreign investors who may be willing to come and invest in Ghana,” the company has warned.
Background of the case according to Global Resources Ltd:
- Global Resources Ltd, USA agreed to purchase 11 kilos of gold worth one million three hundred thousand Ghana cedis (Ghc1.3m) from Mr. Courage Gegepe Kobby, the CEO of General Union Investment Agencies. In less than ten minutes just after the transaction was completed and the cash was taken away by Mr. Courage, a team of Policemen suddenly appeared in the Conference room of the Tang Palace Hotel, arrested the buyers and took them to the East Legon Police station without any explanation or reason. They were later told that they were arrested for buying stolen gold. They were detained overnight in police cells after their Passports, cash on them and Mobile phones were collected. Most traumatic personal experience for these four law abiding USA citizens.
- In all, the buyers paid for eleven kilos of gold but were in possession of thirteen (13) kilos which they paid for since the quality of two (2) were tested and found to be below their standard. They used their own technical gold testing equipment and were very convinced of the quality before the payment was made.
- The buyers held onto the 13 kilos in a box on the way to the police station when one of the arresting Police officers hinted to them that they were being scammed. When they met the East Legon Police Commander, DSP Mr. Emmanuel Basintale in his office, they were required to hand all the 13 kilos in the box to him personally but he did not give them any receipt or any documentary proof; he rather pushed them into the police cells.
- A fellow foreign businessman friend to the victims who came into the Police station to assist and if possible arrange their release was also arrested and detained in a similar manner by the Police.
- All their phones, passports and cash on them were collected from them immediately when they were arrested and only returned to them on Monday, 14th November 2016.
- The buyers were only released on bail in the afternoon of Sunday, the 13th November 2016 after Green Global business associate went and confronted Mr Basintale, the East Legon Police Commander in his office that afternoon before he granted them the bail.
- Whilst buyers were in detention about 04:00 am, the dawn of Sunday, the driver of the buyers who was waiting outside and with some other persons allegedly saw Mr Basintale back to his office and they strongly suspected that he came and took the seized gold away.
- Shockingly, on 14/11/16, they were sent to Court by the East Legon Police and charged for buying stolen gold.
- On the release of the victims, they hired Attorneys who brought a petition to the CID Hqrs on their behalf on 15/11/2016 for Police assistance and were subsequently referred to the DVS unit of the CID Hqrs for investigation.
- The buyers were very hopeful that they were going to retrieve their gold since it was supposed to very safe in the custody of the East Legon Police.
- At the DVS, the victims showed some pictures they took of the business transaction to the DVS commander and he was surprised and told them that he knew the scammer and also brought out a picture of Mr Courage, wearing the same dress he wore whilst cheating them, they became very hopeful at this point that the Commander was honest and definitely going to help them apprehend the criminals.
- The DVS investigators also told them that the scammer, Mr Courage was already on Police bail involving previous Gold scam cases involving foreign investors at both the DVS of the CID Hqrs and the Accra Regional Police Hqrs.
- To their dismay, the case was suddenly withdrawn from the DVS unit and referred to a different Unit at the CID Hqrs.
- The investors got frightened of this police corruption and behaviour towards them and left the country when they realised that a lot of Senior Police officers at different levels were behind the scammers and were also repeatedly been warned by many local people that they should forget about their gold and money since Ghana was so corrupt and no one was going to help them.
- The victims’ lawyer also met the former IGP but he also could not assist them; heightening their fears.
- DSP/Mr Basintale surprisingly, had been at post without any disciplinary action taken against him until he was interdicted recently in March 2017 by the new IGP and the subsequent media coverage.It should be noted that the former Dp/Dir/CID, Mr. Denis was very much aware of all these unfortunate developments and was initially very instrumental in the calling of the case from East Legon Police to the CID Hqrs. Unfortunately, he was also aware of Mr Courage Kobby’s cases at the CID Hqrs and the Regional CID but never arrested Mr. Courage Gegebe Courage till date and has also not helped the victims. He allegedly was involved in the withdrawing of the case from the DVS to the new investigating team which he has a strong hold over.
- A lot of top Senior Officers and some other junior ranks including some BNI officers are alleged to be protecting the scammers and Mr Courage is always allegedly bragging about his immunity from the whole Police Service and the Courts.
- Unfortunately, the country, Ghana in the long run is the loser since her Security Services are apparently corrupt by cheating and driving potential investors away instead of protecting them.
- What prevents DSP/Mr Basintale or the Ghana Police from producing the 13 kilos of gold he personally collected in his office back to the victims?
- It is also alleged that no entries were made in the Station diaries of the East Legon Police about the arrest, detention of the victims and seizure of the gold; no receipt given to the victims.
- DSP Basintale allegedly brought some gold to be tested by the new investigation team from the CID Hqrs but the victims were not even invited to be present or to identify the gold bars before testing which automatically ended in a negative result as fake gold.
- The new investigate team was alleged to be composed under the supervision of Mr. Denis and unsurprisingly they have not even tried to consult the initial investigators for any update till date.
- Mr Courage Kobby Gegebe is still a free man going around possibly defrauding other innocent victims and the CID allegedly are now pretending to be looking for him and the other fraud culprits.
- CCTV footages of the transactions and individuals are available and could have been collected from the Tang Palace where the transaction took place for further investigation; the collection of the CCTV footages was already put in motion officially by the DVS investigators but nothing has been done since the docket was collected from them.
- A senior CID Officer has some photographs of the transaction which were given him by the victims. Likewise, the DVS who have Mr. Courage on bail with a surety should also be in the position to make him available for questioning when needed.
- After the media reportage of the welcomed interdiction of DSP. Basintale and his fellow policemen, the investors were privileged to meet with the new IGP on March 24th 2017 but were disappointed with the outcome of their trip when they had to go back to the US apparently achieving nothing. They were verbally promised that they will be collecting their money for them and will at the same time be going to court with criminals
- Their fears became heightened again when after three months no progress has been made with this unbearable case of Police corruption and breach of public trust.
Key questions from Global Resources Ltd.
- Who reported that the gold bought by Global Resources were stolen from them?
- When was it reported to the Police at East Legon?
- Why did the East Legon Police Commander take the gold from the buyers without giving them any receipts?
- How come the gold which was tested before buying as real gold then in the hands of DSP Basintale turned to be fake when, DSP. Basintale sent them for testing without Green Golden Resources Ltd. representatives at the Police Headquarters after weeks in his possession?
- Why did they only arrest the buyers of the gold and leave the sellers?
- If according to the police, the gold were stolen, why was the money not returned to the buyers, (Golden Resources)?
- Why were the buyers processed for court the next day, Monday and charged for buying stolen gold but the sellers were not arrested?
- And lastly, we are also pleading with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Director General of CID to change the Investigator handling the case, Inspector Lohdonu, for a new Investigator to take over because we have lost trust in the way he is handling it when we last met with him and the CID Boss a fortnight ago at the CID Headquarters.
By: Duke Mensah-Opoku/citifmonline.com/Ghana