A husband and wife, both shareholders of Onango Ghana Limited, have confirmed to the Police that they took US$650,000 out of the company of which they had administrative control of all its online IT systems.
Mr. Samuel Kwabena Opoku, and his accomplice, Madam Juliana Sherri-Opoku, allegedly said they had falsely informed the Ghana Revenue Authority that the Company had stopped operating and needed time to pay off the monies owed in taxes. A statement, they knew was false after they were charged with defrauding by false pretense and stealing.
The two were also charged for conspiracy to commit crime, forgery of official document and uttering forged document for which Mr. Opoku pleaded not guilty to.
The court, presided over by Mr. Emmanuel Essandoh, admitted Mr. Opoku, who is also the Managing Director of the company, to bail in the sum of GH¢10.5 million with one surety.
The court ordered that the surety should be a public servant earning not less than GH¢3,000.00
Meanwhile, his accomplice, Madam Sherri-Opoku’s plea was not taken, because she was not present in court.
He is expected to reappear on July 4, 2022.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Emmanuel Nyamekye, prosecuting, said the complainant, Charles Addo, was a Managing Director of Meridian Management Investments Limited and a Chairman of Onango Ghana Limited.
The prosecution said the accused persons had a dual nationality of Ghana and the United Kingdom and both directors and shareholders of Onango Ghana Limited.
They were the Managing Director and Executive Director in charge of Finance respectively, of the company.
Mr. Nyamekye said in the year 2017, the accused persons approached the complainant, and in 2018, Lendable Asset Management LLC, a financial institution incorporated in the United States and introduced Onango Ghana Limited to them asking them to invest and lend money to the said Company.
The prosecution said the accused persons presented Lendable Asset Management LLC with documents, including financial statement and computerized dashboard which they claimed represented the customers and financial position of the company in an Online Virtual Account (OVA) which they said was held with MTN mobile money services.
Mr. Nyamekye said the dashboard was forged with false figures of balances and customers of the company to induce Meridian Management and Investment Limited and Lendable Asset Management LLC into investing and lending.
The prosecution said the dashboard displayed fake transactions, fake numbers of customers and fake account balances of Onango Ghana Limited.
This information attracted Meridian Management Investment Limited, acting through the complainant and Lendable Asset Management LLC to invest and lend a total amount of US$13.2 million.
Mr. Nyamekye said the accused persons after receiving the money were not able to account for the money and continued to present false information about the company to the investors via false weekly status updates which the accused persons directed Mr. Melvin Neizer and Mr Dominic Sarfo to give to the investors.
The prosecution said after the complainant had received a formal written complaint from Lendable Asset Management LLC, concerning the refusal by the accused persons to allow Lendable Asset Management LLC to gain access to the OVA for audit, investigation was conducted.
The Chief Finance Officer, Noel Hammond, checked these reports, and the Board discovered after investigation that the documentation, including financial statements and the online dashboard information were forged by accused persons.
Their action was to induce Meridian Management and Investment Limited and Lendable Asset Management LLC to part with US$13.2 million and that amount could not be accounted for.
Mr. Nyamekye said the complainant lodged a complaint with the Police for investigation and the accused persons were arrested.
The prosecution said the accused persons admitted taking US$650,000 of the company’s money to buy a residential house at Abelemkpe, Accra in which they resided in as their matrimonial home but claimed they could not account for the rest of the monies.
The prosecution said investigations were still ongoing.
Initially, the prosecution prayed the court to remand the accused persons into police custody to enable investigations to continue.
By Emelia Nkrumah/Ernest Boamah