Information available to Today shows that some Chinese and Ghanaian illegal miners operating in some mining communities in the country were not only involved in illegal mining, but also into money counterfeiting.
According to our investigations, these Chinese and Ghanaian galamseyers who operated in Akim Achiase in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region were allegedly into both money counterfeiting and illegal mining.
Today uncovered this new crime by the Chinese galamseyers when their Ghanaian counterparts attempted to swindle the Akim Achiase GN Bank Branch Manager, Mr. Richard Owusu-Twaah, to the tune of GHC55,000.00 two weeks ago.
Luck however eluded them as they were arrested by the Akim Achiase District Police in the banking hall on Monday, June 5, 2017. The three—Sulley Musah 32, who is the ringleader from Adumako, Pastor Yaw Boateng,38, and Emmanuel Osei,52, all from Akim Achiase, were arraigned before the Akim Swedru Circuit Court last week.
The Akim Achiase District Police Commander, Mr. Ernest Kodjo Dokounoo, confirmed to Today that the three were arrested on a tip-off by the bank manager.
He said the three who thought they could easily make a deal with the GN Bank manager approached him with a proposal to give them the aforementioned money to enable them buy materials to print counterfeit currencies. The bank manager, according to the police officer, was subsequently promised 60% of the business proposal.
Speaking to Today in an interview at the weekend, Mr. Owusu-Twaah disclosed that two weeks ago, Emmanuel Osei introduced one of the accomplices, Pastor Yaw Boateng, to him.
He said Pastor Boateng later came to inform him about money counterfeit business some Chinese galamseyers whom his brother was working with were allegedly doing in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.
Mr. Owusu-Twaah added that Pastor Boateng told him that those Chinese nationals used counterfeit money they cut to pay their workers, and as well pay for the gold they buy. Mr. Owusu-Twaah said, according to Pastor Boateng, confusion erupted at a point among the Chinese over the sharing of profit of the business, which resulted in the relocation of some of them to South Africa.
According to Mr. Owusu-Twaah, another accomplice, Sulley Musah, who was also working with the Chinese, took advantage of the confusion and stole one of the counterfeit machines that belonged to his Chinese galamsey masters. “After this information, I requested to meet the owner of the counterfeit machine myself. So Pastor Boateng arranged for me to meet Sulley Musah and Emmanuel in my office at Akim Achiase,” he said.
At the said meeting, Mr. Owusu-Twaah said Musah confirmed to him that he stole the counterfeit machine from his bosses (the Chinese galamseyers).
“l lured them to bring me some of the counterfeit monies they had in their possession to see first before I would do any business with them per their proposal,” he said.
Instantly, he said Sulley Musah pulled three pieces of GHC1.00 notes from his pocket, claiming they were counterfeit.
He said he collected the money and asked them to go and come back the next day for further discussions on their business proposal deal which they agreed.
But, he said, after checking the authenticity of the money with the counting machine in the banking hall it did not detect the money was fake. “I therefore, called them to come and explain to me why the machine could not detect it was counterfeit money,” he stated.
According to Mr. Owusu-Twaah, they told him that no money counting machine could detect “counterfeit monies cut with our machines.” Upon this development, he said Pastor Boateng brought him GHC10.00 note again “for me to test.”
”So, l called one of the bank tellers, Mr. Jude Dormi-Amanor, via telephone to check the GHC10.00 if the machine would be able to detect it as fake currency.” The teller, according to him, came to his office in the presence of Pastor Boateng, saying “the counting machine in the banking hall first countered the GHC10.00 but at the second attempt it detected the money as fake currency.”
“I took the GHC10.00 myself to check. But one face of the money successfully passed through the counting machine while other face was detected as fake,” he revealed to Today. Mr. Owusu-Twaah, who had all this while informed the Akim Achiase District Police Commander about this illegal business, asked the suspects to bring the counterfeit machine to his office so that he would give them the money they had requested.
According to him, Sulley Musah agreed to bring the machine for him to see so that he would give them the money. He said the meeting was scheduled for Monday, June 5, 2017 in his office the day they were arrested.
He continued that around 8:45 a.m., on that Monday a taxi with the registration number GE 4197-13 came and parked in front of his office.
“So I went close to the taxi, and to my surprise, I saw a machine supposed to be the counterfeit machine. I quickly asked them to bring it to my office so that they can produce the counterfeit money for me to see,” he indicated. But he said, they objected to that since they claimed the machine would make noise.
“Nevertheless, I convinced them that since I’m the manager of the bank, nobody can question me,” he said. According to him, they initially wanted the machine to be in a ‘security’ room to avoid any suspicion.
“This time they introduced a new man to me as the operator of the machine. And while they were on it the District Police Commander and his team came there and subsequently arrested them,” he narrated to Today.
According to Mr. Owusu-Twaah, carbonated (black) money was found on them after they were arrested.