By Samuel Ansah Boateng reports
Despite stringent measures put in place by the Ghana Prisons Service to ensure the safety of the society from notorious criminals who have been convicted into various prisons, your authoritative New Crusading GUIDE can report without prejudice that some hardened criminals are still able to ply their trade-especially fraud-on unsuspecting victims of various sums of monies.
One of such prisons, where such life-threatening activities have been uncovered is the Ankaful Maximum Security Prisons, in the Central Region.
Painstaking investigations conducted by our reporter, Samuel Ansah Boateng, has exposed how prisoners, despite thorough searches conducted by expert prison officers at the main entrances to prison yards, traffic contrabands into prison cells, in order to aide them in various criminal activities.
A case in point is how an inmate contacted a certain business woman (name withheld for security reasons) on phone with a restricted number and told her he was interested in doing business with her.
In the recorded conversation which began last year, the prisoner introduced himself as ?Colonel Baffour Awuah?, a.k.a ?Nana Kwasi?, of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and that he was then in Lebanon on a Peace-Keeping Mission.He said he had some goods he was sending to the shores of Ghana the following month, and was in need of money to facilitate shipment of the goods.
According to the victim, she became more convinced when ?Col Baffour Awuah? mentioned names of some other military officers she (the victim) had done similar businesses with, and in few weeks, agreed to offer GH?4, 000 to help facilitate the shipment, ?so that when the goods arrived in Ghana, I will go for the goods he promised me and sell them for a profit?, she added.
The victim said per their arrangement, she was asked to meet a certain guy who gave his name as Mike, at the Cape Coast Lorry Station, on 13th November 2013,?where she delivered the money together with some foodstuffs like Gari, Shito, plus a necklace ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? requested.She narrated that, ?Colonel Baffour Awuah told me the guy was a trusted colleague who was going to Lebanon the following days, and that he was going to hand the money and the other items to him?.
Few days after the money was delivered, according to the victim, every form of communication suddenly ceased, as ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? never called again.But early this year, the victim said she received a phone call from a Ghanaian registered MTN number, and not too strange a voice; it was ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? again, who
claimed he had arrived in the country after? his Lebanon Peace-Keeping Mission.
This time , according to the victim, ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? said he had not been able to contact her ?due to some difficulties he was facing, ever since his goods got to the shores of the country…he demanded another GH?1,500 to help him bribe some officers at the Tema Port in order to clear the said goods. The following week…but I refused and insisted all I wanted was my money, and that I was no more interested in the business. Ever since, he kept calling me with different numbers until he finally stopped when he noticed he was no more getting money from me, realized perhaps I had even become suspicious of him?.Meanwhile, when the issue was reported to our Special Investigative Team (SIT), we noticed that one of the numbers?used in defrauding the lady had been used to register an account on Facebook, a social media, with same name: ?Colonel Baffour Awuah?, disguised with pictures of military officers.
As part of investigations, we opened a pseudo account on Facebook with the name Mercy Nana Yaa, where we handed over to the victim to operate for a particular period.
The Facebook pseudo account was under the guise of a philanthropist banker, who also worked with a Non- Governmental Organization which sought to fight for the right and freedom of the ordinary Ghanaian.Amongst the numerous friends in the list of Colonel Baffour Awuah, was one Prince Mensah, who after few weeks of friendship, confessed he was languishing in the Ankaful Maximum Prisons, over a robbery incident, and that he knew the main kingpin behind the name ?Colonel Baffour Awuah?; who was also an inmate.
He said ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? was not a real soldier, and that it was a similar modus operandi they all use, whilst in prison to defraud innocent victims, and that he had also been operating under the name ?Colonel Frank Yeboah?.
Prince Mensah, who later said his real name was Samuel Oye Mensah, further confided in ?Mercy Nana Yaa?, and hinted that , he used to be in Block C with ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? until the former was transferred to Block A, in the same Prisons.In another recorded conversation on phone, the victim, who was then playing the role of a philanthropist banker, promised Oye Mensah that she was going to use all her connections with big-wigs in Government?and other strong spiritual pastors to ensure his immediate release from Prison.
He said he was arrested together with his robbery accomplice, one Francis Oppong on 8th July, 2004, by the Police at Dunkwa Offinso, in the Central Region, and was slapped with a 45- year jail term, by a Cape-Coast Court-2 Judge.Samuel Oye Mensah said he was sent to the Nsawam Prisons and later in 2007, transferred to the Ankaful Maximum Prisons, whilst his other accomplice, Francis Oppong escaped from prison.
He sent pictures of himself through whatsapp (another social media) and contact numbers of his relatives and one other which he claimed was the new mobile number ?Colonel Baffour Awuah? was using.
?Mercy Nana Yaa?, who could not control her temper then contacted the new number on whatsapp and texted ?you thought you could defraud me and run away…it?s a small world…you can run, but you can?t hide?, the number immediately replied ?please madam it?s not me ohhhh?. Minutes after the exchange of text messages, ?Col Baffour Awuah? called.
In the conversation which lasted for 26 minutes, 35 seconds, ?Colonel Baffour Awuah a.k.a Nana Kwasi?,? finally promised to refund half of the money and pay the rest later, but only on the condition that the victim mentioned to him who had given out his new number to her.
The Prisons was commissioned by late President John Evans Atta Mills in 1996, to help curb challenges of overcrowding and the handling of high profile prisoners among others.
Please stay tuned, for more shocking revelations from the Ankaful Maximum Prisons in our next editions.