Businessman charged for possessing counterfeited coins
By Helena Selby
A businessman is standing trial at an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly depositing a total amount of GH¢1,120,000 counterfeited one cedi coins in some branches of UT and Merchant banks.
The accused person, Ernest Baah, who operates a business by name Bahnest Enterprise, is alleged to have deposited the said amount at the various branches of UT and Merchant banks in different installments, but was at a point rejected when the payment of the coins were becoming frequent.
His activity was alleged to have been detected when the Bank of Ghana had information that some group of people had counterfeited the One Ghana Cedi coin and have put them into circulation.
The information allegedly startled the Bank of Ghana, and as a result alerted the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) to conduct an investigation into the case, which led to the accused person (Ernest Baah) being later arrested.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge of possession of counterfeit coin, contrary to section 10 of Act 242 of the Currency Act 1994 before the court, presided over by Mrs. Naa Adoley Azu.
He was admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢1,000,000 with two sureties, one to be justified and expected to make his next appearance on August 6, 2012.
Narrating the facts of the case to the court, the prosecutor, DSP Abraham A. Annor told the court that on April 20, 2012, the accused person deposited an amount of GH¢50,000 -all in one cedi coins into his UT Bank account, with full knowledge that the money was counterfeit.
He said on May 8, 2012, the accused person again attempted depositing GH¢75,000 at the same bank, also all in one cedi coins, but the bank accepted only GH¢19,000 saying the initial coins deposited were too many.
According to him, because the bank did not have a counterfeit detector they started paying the fake one cedi coins to customers, adding that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) got wind of the issue and informed all the banks to forward the one cedi coins for re-bagging.
DSP Annor recounted that the UT Bank had then had only GH¢57,000 left, out of what the accused persons deposited, which they forwarded same to the BoG.
The prosecutor mentioned that the BoG, however, detected the money to have been faked, adding that the manager of the UT Bank then invited the accused person, but he failed to honour the invitation.
“The accused person was later lured to Papaya Fast Food restaurant where he was indentified to the police and arrested.
During interrogation, Ernest Baah admitted having paid a total amount of GH¢1,120,000 to the UT Bank and the Merchant Bank. He stated that he paid an amount of GH¢40,000 into his Merchant Bank account at the Osu Branch.” he added.
He asserted that the accused person mentioned one Oniwasi, a Nigerian national, as the person who bought goods from him on different occasions and paid him with the one cedi coins.
According to him, the accused person stated that he did not know the residence of the Nigerian or the location of his shop, moreover, it was disclosed that the accused person has no warehouse or permanent place where he stores his goods or transacts his business.
“Meanwhile, efforts are being made to trace the alleged Oniwasi for questioning. The suspected one cedi counterfeit coins have been sent to the BoG for further investigation,” he added.
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