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General News of Thursday, 13 August 2009

Source: Chronicle

Row Over U.S.$48,000 Visa Money

CID Probes Rose Atinga -

The sense of judgement and professionalism of the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Rose Bio Atinga, has been questioned over the manner an expatriate accused of defrauding some Ghanaians was left off the hook.

Counsel for the defrauded Ghanaians has reported the conduct of Ms Atinga to both the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), for what they term as investigation bias.

The Chronicle gathered that the expatriate, Mr. Kim Albaek, had been on the wanted list of Interpol for about eight years now, after he had collected over $48,000 from some Ghanaians and promised them United Kingdom visas. However, some few days after he was arrested, DCOP Atinga set him free, in the face of substantial evidence.

The paper learnt that in 2001, Mr. Albaek, an Australian citizen, who resides in Britain, came to Ghana and approached Mrs. Dora Heather and Nana Boakye, all of them Ghanaians, and made known his interest to join them in gold mining business.

Whilst documenting and firming the deal, Mr. Albaek also informed his partners that he could secure UK visas for interested Ghanaians, and even proceeded to assure them that moneys that would be paid to him for the facilitation of the visas would be guaranteed by his bankers.

In order to test his capabilities, his Ghanaian partners recommended a lady to him, and true to Mr. Albaek's words, the British Embassy granted the lady a UK visa on the same day. As a result, his Ghanaian business counterparts managed to secure $45,000 and £2,500 from interested Ghanaians and gave it to Mr. Albaek for the acquisition of UK visas. He also provided a Barclays Bank guarantee, so that if he (Albaek) absconds with the money, they would retrieve their monies from the bank.

However, on the day when the Ghanaians were billed to go for the visas, Mr. Albaek was nowhere to be found. When Mrs. Heather flew to London to recover the monies from the UK Barclays bank, she was told that Mr. Albaek had left the firm, which was supposed to make the payment. The case was reported to Interpol, since Mr. Albaek had left the shores of the country.

The Chronicle was informed that early this year, Mr. Albaek was spotted in Accra, as a result of which Nana went for an arrest warrant from the police, and proceeded to the hotel where he was residing to arrest him.

At the hotel, they met Kim's girlfriend, who informed them that he (Kim) was not in the country. She however paid GH¢1,000 on behalf of Kim to defray some part of the debt.

Mr. Kim was later spotted at Holiday Inn hotel in Accra, in June, this year, and was subsequently arrested by Police officers from the Accra Regional Police command.

The father of Kim's girlfriend, one Nana Boateng, stood surety for the accused and he was granted bail. Kim was made to write an undertaking to pay $10,000 every month, to offset the debt, and a Hummer Four Wheel Drive vehicle, as collateral.

The undertaking states, "I, Mr. Kim Albaek promise to pay $10,000 a month till the full amount of $48,000 is repaid. Commencement 22/6/08, Hummer H2 registration: ANGEL - 1 - will be provided as collateral."

Nana Boakye told The Chronicle that he observed on the day Nana Boateng (who is a former Police officer) came to sign the bail documents for the release of Kim, he (Nana Boateng) struck an acquaintance with DCOP Atinga, as he later got to know that both of them had worked for the Police service in Koforidua before.

According to Nana Darkwa, on June 22, this year, when he went to the Accra regional police command for part payment of his money, he was arrested on the grounds that Kim had also made an allegation against him, that he (Nana) had schemed with a taxi driver to knock down his brother, and then connived with certain police officers to dupe him.

"They went to search my house, I told Ms. Atinga that Kim was deceiving them, she wouldn't listen, until they threw me into cells. I was released the next day evening, but now Kim has been left a free man, and meanwhile my case has been thrown away," he stressed.

On July 17, this year, Mr. Akyea, counsel for the complainant, wrote to the CID Director in a letter headlined, "DEFRAUDING BY FALSE PRETENCES AND PEVERSION OF JUSTICE, the letter states - "We act as solicitors for Dora Heather and Nana Boakye.

Our firm and unqualified instructions are that in 2001, one Kim Albaek, a citizen of Australia, made representations to our clients, which turned out to be false, that he was able to secure visas to Ghanaians to travel to the United Kingdom.

Our Clients relying on the false representations gathered individuals who contributed US $45,000 and £2,500 and handed over same to Kim Albaek. Please find attached evidence of the receipt of some of the money.

Upon receiving the said monies, he absconded from the jurisdiction. Our clients lodged a complaint with Interpol Ghana. Recently, Kim Albaek returned to the jurisdiction. Our Clients quickly lodged a complaint with the Regional Commander, Greater Accra Region. When he showed up before the commander, Kim admitted taking the money and paid up a GHC1, 000.

He is now walking a free man and our client, Nana Boakye has been accused by Kim of murder, deceit of a public officer and extortion.

We are at a loss as to this turn of events and crave your indulgence to investigate same.

This is a clear case of investigation bias on the part of the regional Commander, Greater Accra region, having due regard to her treatment of Nana Boakye Darkwa and Her nonchalance in prosecuting Kim Albaek, in the face of overwhelming evidence."

When this reporter contacted DCOP Atinga in her office, she vehemently denied knowledge of the incident and referred the reporter to the crime officer, who was not in office at the time the incident occurred, but Madam Atinga surprisingly followed the reporter to the Crime office and began narrating the same story she claimed she did not have any knowledge about.

"Who is Nana? I don't know of Kim Albaek, I don't know of a Hummer vehicle that was used as collateral, this is a big place, so you have to know which police officers were involved, was the investigation done from here? What is the name of the investigator?" She inquired from the reporter in her office.

At the Crime Office, she said Nana Darkwa was arrested because of the allegations Kim made and that he has been granted bail pending investigations.

She said the Hummer vehicle that was used as collateral was also released because it belonged to the girl friend of Mr. Kim, adding that the matter was dropped because the undertaking did not tell whether Mr. Kim had committed fraud, and she considered it a civil case.

The CID Public Relations Officer, Mr. J.B Darkwah, told the paper that the matter was being investigated by the CID, and that they have called for both dockets on the case for investigations.