General News of Wednesday, 26 January 2000
By Mary Mensah
TWO Nigerians who lured three businessmen from France into the country for a $50 million business deal have been arrested by Security agencies in Accra.
The two: Kenneth Kaikai Omoh, 30, and Scott Omoh, 27, were arrested at a hotel at Dzorwulu following a tip-off. When their room was searched, a big trunk full of black papers cut to the size of dollar bills, a whitish chemical in a bottle, a big cotton wool, three mobile phones, a number of Ghana Telecom phone cards and some money were found.
Briefing the Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Commanding Officer of the 64 Infantry Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lt. Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, said the two Nigerians picked e-mail addresses of businessmen and women from foreign magazines and used such addresses to send e-mail messages to their potential business counterparts. He said the two suspects told the Frenchmen that their father, Dr. Alex K. Omoh, Chairman of the National Diamond Corporation in Nigeria died and bequeathed precious stones valued at $50 million in three iron boxes to them.
They claimed their father had wanted to invest the money in France and just before he died, he instructed them to fulfil his dream by investing the money in France.
They also claimed that after the death of General Sani Abacha, the money was sent to Accra for safe-keeping at the Assistance 2000 Ghana Limited Security House.
The Commanding Officer said when the French nationals arrived in the country on January 8, 2000, the suspects booked accommodation for them at the Novotel Hotel in Accra and presented a certificate of deposit purported to have been issued by the security house. A copy of the certificate, which was made available to the Graphic, had confidential written boldly on it with the name of the depositor, purpose of deposit, items deposited, date of deposit and amount charged among others. Lt. Col Gbevlo-Lartey said the suspects managed to collect $16,000 as charges being demanded by the security house for keeping the silver boxes containing the precious metals and requested for additional $1 million to enable them to send the money to France. He said the businessmen readily agreed to give out the money.
He said the men then called their offices in France and asked one of the Company?s Secretary to come down with the money but her flight was delayed. The security agencies got wind of the deal and effected the arrests of the suspects. The Commanding Officer said the suspects pleaded with the security agencies to release them so that they could conclude arrangements for the deal after which should them richer by $1 million. He said this was rejected by the security agencies and they were arrested. The suspects have been placed in custody to assist security agencies in their investigations.