Crime & Punishment of Friday, 4 July 2014
The Madina Police have arrested a man who is believed to have duped more than 30 people he promised to help secure visas and other documents to enable them to travel abroad.
The 31-year-old information technologist, Joseph Sarfo, who claimed to be a local representative of Blount Cruise Ship International, a travel agency in Canada, is alleged to have defrauded prospective travellers of thousands of Ghana cedis.
The Madina District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Mr Kwesi Annor Arhin, said the suspect was arrested last Wednesday after one of his victims had identified him on Facebook.
He said the victim, Ernest Obert Adjato, a marketing officer, asked a friend of his to use her Facebook account to link up with the suspect, and after they had established friendship, she expressed interest in travelling abroad.
The girl and Sarfo agreed to meet at a point in Madina, but unknown to the suspect, the police arrested him when he got there.
Mr Arhin said Adjato had reported to the police that in 2011 he wanted to travel to Canada to get married to his fiancée, and wanted the assistance of a travel agent.
“He said he saw an advertisement by a travel agency which could be of assistance and, therefore, called the mobile contact in the advert and the respondent, who happened to be Sarfo, said he could help,” he said.
Registration and processing fees
Mr Arhin said the suspect invited Adjato to Takoradi in the Western Region where he paid GH¢100 as registration fee and $600 as processing fee.
“Through our investigations, we have realised that more people have fallen victim to this fraud. We suspect it’s a syndicate,” he explained.
On interrogation, the suspect admitted collecting money from Adjato to assist him to travel abroad at a time he (Sarfo) had lost contact with the mother company in Canada.
The police said he also confirmed to have posed as a local representative of Blount Cruise Ship International for a year-and- a half.
According to the police, the suspect said he only succeeded in collecting the registration fee from his victims, as most of them failed to raise the $600 fee for the processing of their travel documents.