A security coordinator at the Metro Mass Transit Company Limited, Lawal Fuseina, has been handed a 10-year prison term for blackmailing his former Managing Director (MD), Mr Bennet Aboagye.
The Circuit Court in Accra convicted and sentenced him after he was found guilty of charges including unlawful entry and extortion after a full trial.
The convict was said to have planted a secret camera in the office of his former MD and used the recording to demand $1m but succeeded in obtaining GHc40, 000.
The court, presided over by Her Honour Adelaide Abui Keddy, in handing down the sentence said, the punishment should serve as a deterrent to others.
One other person mentioned as Bawa, who is said to have conspired with the convict is being pursued by the police.
The brief facts of the case as presented to the court by DSP E. Nyamekye, the prosecutor was that the Complainant is the former Managing Director of the Metro Mass Transit Company Limited (MMTL) whilst Lawal Fuseini (A1) is the Security coordinator of the same company and Bawa (A2) is at large.
According to the prosecutor, on March 15, 2018, A1 requested a meeting with the complainant and his Personal Assistant citing a security breach in the company as the agendum.
He told the court that, the Complainant could not be made it to the meeting and asked his personal assistant to meet A1.
The prosecutor said, during the meeting, A1 informed the complainant’s Personal Assistant that he received a phone call from A2 and his group who requested to meet A1.
One million dollars demand
He explained that A1 allegedly went to meet A2 and his supposed group who revealed that, they had a damaging audio recording of the complainant’s conversation implicating him in several corrupt deals as such was demanding $1 million dollars from the complainant to destroy the audio recordings, refusing which A2 will give the audio recording to the print and the electronic media for publication.
The prosecutor told the court that, later, when the complainant and his Personal Assistant made it to a meeting at the behest of A1, he (A1) handed over to him a transcript of the said audio recordings and reiterated his demand on behalf of A2.
The prosecutor said, the Complainant realised that this was an obvious ploy by A1 to blackmail and extort money from him and decided to play along.
He said the Complainant involved a witness, in this case, he considered an expert in security issues.
The witness invited the complainant and A1 to his office and negotiated the amount of one million dollars demand to GHc20,000.00 in exchange for the said damaging audio recording.
He said, A1 refused this new offer but later settled on GHc40,000.00.
DSP Nyamekye said the Complainant became alarmed when on the morning of March 17, 2018; his wife found a scanned copy of a criminal check report he (complainant) obtained at the CID Headquarters and kept at his office for travelling on their compound.
He said, on the scanned copy of the Criminal Check report was a typed threatening message which reads:
“Mr Bennet, you think you are smart, before Monday, March 19, 2018, let’s hear your new offer and not that GHc 40,000 you told the security guy at the statehouse or else don’t even dare go to China.
“Because you know Chinese government don’t take lightly with issues of corruption. Just like we overwhelmed your security coordinator, you will soon get cardiac arrest from the mental trauma you will get. We will offer the Chinese government for free what we have,” the Prosecutor noted to the court.
He said the Complainant’s suspicion of A1’s involvement in the blackmail was confirmed since the criminal check report was in his office and the only person who could have had to assess it was an employee of the company.
He added that the Complainant, therefore, reported the case to the police.
According to him, prior to the arrest of A1, the complainant and the witness had met A1 to pay GHc40, 000 in two separate instalments of GHc20, 000 on different dates and locations as earlier agreed.
“Witness captured A1 on camera when receiving the money in the first instance,” he told the court.
Evidence for Special Prosecutor
The prosecutor said, on March 26, 2018, A1 was arrested at MMTL premises and copies of the alleged audio recording of the complainant’s conversation on his official laptop were retrieved.
“A1 in his cautioned statement admitted being the brain behind the recordings. The demand for the money and receipt of the GHc40, 000 from the complainant to stop the leakage of the recordings to the media with aid of A2 after an earlier denial.
According to the prosecutor, A1, however, insisted that he took the decision to secretly record the complainant’s conversations in order to procure evidence of corruption deals by the complainant and his Personal Assistant to be given to the special prosecutor.
He said A1 subsequently failed to account for the GHc40, 000 he extorted from the complainant and also lead Police to A2.
“During investigations, A2 was contacted to his cell phone number 050…. but he denied any knowledge and involvement in the case as being alleged by A1.
The prosecutor said efforts are still underway to arrest A2.
“Investigation revealed that the company MMTL had a common room where all keys to the various offices are kept including that of the complainant.
“A1 unlawfully accessed complainant’s office and planted a recorder to record complainant’s conversations and also picked his Police Check Report, scanned and inserted the threatening message on it.
“A1 managed to drop the said document on complainant’s resident to coerced him into paying the money.
“Investigations also uncovered that A1 after receiving the GHc40, 000 lodged same in his ADB accounts on May 5, 2018, and subsequently redrawn GHc1,000 and GHc39, 000 on May 19 and 21, 2018 respectively,” the prosecutor told the court.