Alleged online fraudsters face trial for human trafficking

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An Accra Circuit Court has granted a GHC50,000.00 bail with two sureties each to two persons accused of human trafficking and assault.

They are also to deposit their travelling documents with the court’s registry.

Tijani Hussein is facing charges of recruiting and bringing four victims from Nigeria to Ghana under the guise of finding them jobs but later using them for internet fraud.

He is charged alongside Hassan Great with conspiring to assault the four victims and assaulting them.

Hussein has denied trafficking and assaulting Christopher Junior Anyanwu, Kelvin Aghator, Israel Dan, and Godwin Adibo.

Hassan on the other hand denied conspiring with Hussein to assault the four victims.

They will make their next appearance on November 16, 2023.

Meanwhile, their accomplice, Clement Moses is on the run.

Police Chief Inspector Dickson Atunah told the Court presided over by Mr Samuel Bright Acquah that Israel Dan, 19, is the complainant in the case, whilst the accused persons, all Nigerians, are internet fraudsters.

In July 2023, Hussein recruited Junior Christopher, 17 and Kelvin, 21, from Nigeria to Ghana under the pretext of securing them jobs.

He told the court that when the victims arrived, Hussein welcomed them into his home in Ayikuma, confiscated their phones and erased all information from them, and coerced the two into internet fraud.

Hussein, according to the prosecution, subjected the victims to severe beatings if they failed to comprehend what he was teaching them.

He only fed them once a day and forced them to drink only a sachet of water in 24 hours.

Chief Inspector Atunah said the victims were not permitted to leave the house or make phone calls.

They were also forbidden from using any private social media handles other than to deceive individuals, primarily Japanese, on Instagram.

He said that the victims worked from 0830 hours to 1600 hours, then from 2030 hours to 0430 hours the next day.

The court heard that Hussein recruited and brought Israel, 19, and Godwin, 22, from Nigeria to Ghana in August 2023, and subjected them to the same abuse.

The prosecution said Hassan, a fellow fraudster, arrived in Ghana from Nigeria in August 2023 and joined Hussein in his internet fraud enterprise.

He and Hussein ruthlessly assaulted the victims anytime they broke any of the rules in the house, the Prosecution informed the Court.
Chief Inspector Atunah said on October 6, 2023, Israel, who was then transferred from Ayikuma by Hussein to Mensah Bar to work under another master named Clement Moses, also a Nigerian who is yet to be arrested, reported the case of assault at Ayikuma Police Station, which resulted in the rescue of the three others and the arrest of the accused.

He said the parties and case dockets were then sent to the CID Headquarters’ Anti-Human Trafficking Unit for further investigation.

Chief Inspector Atunah said during investigation Hussein admitted to recruiting and transporting the victims from Nigeria to Ghana.

Hussein and Hassan both admitted to assaulting the victims, but they denied employing them for internet fraud.

In requesting bail, their counsel said that his clients had pleaded their innocence, a fixed place of abode, and would appear in court.

He said that the accused were arrested on October 4, 2023, detained for six days, and then released on police investigation bail without violating any of the bail conditions.

According to their counsel, they were re-arrested on October 16, 2023, and held in police custody until October 25, 2023.

He claimed that after his clients’ phones were confiscated, the police searched their house, but the facts provided by prosecution did not reflect that.

The prosecution stated that the phones would be needed in subsequent investigations and that they would not oppose bail provided the defendants would appear in court for trial.

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