‘Bad Business Pushed Me’


Alexander Kofi Tweneboa, the embattled former boss of the Ghana Real Estate Developers’ Association (GREDA), is purported to have told the police that he was introduced into SIM box fraud because his business was going bad.

This, according to him, was triggered by the bad economic situation in the country.

The supposed confession of Dr. Tweneboa was contained in the substituted facts sheet presented by Ms. Stella Ohene Appiah, a state attorney, on behalf of the Attorney General.

Dr. Tweneboa is before the Financial and Tax High Court after his arrest by a joint Anti-Telecommunication Fraud taskforce and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for allegedly engaging in illegal SIM box operations at Manet Cottage, Spintex Road, a suburb of Accra.

He is facing three-count charges of providing electronic communications service without licence, possessing illegal devices and knowingly obstructing and interfering with the sending, transmission, delivery and reception of communication – charges he has denied.

Evidence

Led in evidence by Ms. Ohene Appiah in a court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, Mr. Theophilius Botwe, a Fraud Prevention Manger of Vodafone Ghana, said he was contacted upon the arrest of the accused, to identify a 64-port SIM equipment used by him (accused) to divert calls.

He said operations cost per the average usage of the equipment by the accused for 16 hours out of 24 hours had made the state lose about $900,000.

The request by Fiifi Abban, counsel for Dr Tweneboa, for an adjournment of hearing in order to confer with his client in respect of the disparities in the amount the state is estimated to have lost was not granted by the trial judge.

Justice Asare-Botwe insisted that the lawyer should start with his cross-examination of the witness and return to complete same if he was unable to do so.

Cross-Examination
Mr. Theophilius Botwe, answering a question, said he was not part of the arresting team, neither could he tell how the task force located the residence of Dr. Tweneboa, insisting that he was only invited to identify the device as to whether it was used for SIM boxing.

While taking the court through how calls are diverted, he was emphatic that a good use of SIM box is that it reduces call rates adding, ‘but where the equipment is being used to terminate international traffic, then that is a problem.’

Dr. Tweneboa is currently on a GH¢200,000 bail with two sureties; and sitting continues on April 1, 2015.

The facts of the case are that the aforementioned taskforce on January 15, 2015 conducted a search in one of the rooms used as an office by Dr. Tweneboa and retrieved among other things, internet modems, antenna and large quantities of SIM cards.

Ms. Ohene Appiah said the caretaker of the house mentioned the accused as the owner of the house and also the one who uses the said office. She said Tweneboa admitted ownership of the equipment and told the police that he was introduced into the SIM box business when his business started going bad due to the economic situation in the country.

She maintained that even though the accused claimed he had been in the SIM box business for about two months, investigations revealed that he had been in the enterprise not less than six months with a total of $919,296 lost to the state and service providers over the period.

jeffdegraft44@yahoo.com
 By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
 


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