A 51-year-old German national has been arrested by the East Legon District Police Command for being part of a syndicate that has allegedly been defrauding unsuspecting Ghanaians of thousands of Ghana cedis under the pretext of selling them oil pipe sealants.
Michael Punke, the suspect, who claims to be an engineer and has been in the country for the past 13 years, was apprehended at the Fiesta Royale Hotel while in the process of defrauding a victim.
In all, about six victims have reported to the police about the activities of these fraudsters, of whom Punke is suspected to be the leader.
Two of his accomplices, one Francis and an Indian, are on the run.
Confirming the arrest to DAILY GUIDE, Crime Officer in-charge of the East Legon District Police Headquarters, DSP Berlinda Banini, disclosed that the suspect was arrested on May 11, 2016 while in the process of defrauding another victim at a hotel.
For six months, the police had received several complaints from victims about their activities but were unable to apprehend them.
On May 4, 2016, the crime officer in-charge of the case said, the victim received a telephone call from a caller who identified himself as Francis, claiming to be an engineer at Cape Three Points, Jubilee Oil Field.
She said Francis told the victim that his company wanted a Ghanaian to supply them with oil pipe sealants for their construction project at the Jubilee Field.
“Francis said they wanted to use foreign companies but government had ordered that materials for all projects on the oil field should be supplied by local suppliers, which was why he recommended the victim to his employers,” DSP Banini narrated.
According to the officer, the caller further stated that he had added the victim’s mobile number to the list of suppliers for their project so that the site supervisor, an Indian, would contact him personally.
After talking to Francis, the victim said the Indian called and introduced himself as Pupandra, a project supervisor at the Jubilee Fields, and that Francis (their colleague engineer) recommended him to them for the supply of oil pipe sealants.
The Indian told the victim to meet him in Kumasi at the Golden Tulip Hotel for sample inspection and to discuss how the items would be supplied.
The victim then travelled to Kumasi with the intention of meeting the said Indian on May 6, 2016, but the Indian called and told the victim to get the samples before their meeting.
Francis again called the victim and told him that a woman working with Anglogold Ashanti had some in stock and that he should contact her.
Later, the woman who claimed she was called Edna called the victim and said Francis had asked that she assist him to get the oil sealants but that Anglogold Ashanti only supplied such items to registered members and that if he really needed them he had to register with them.
Edna told the victim that she would send two of the oil pipe sealants to her errand boy to be given to the victim but said he (victim) had to give an amount of GH¢3, 800 to the boy.
The amount included GH¢2, 400 as registration fee, GH¢1, 300 as the cost of the two sealants, which each cost GH¢650, and transportation of GH¢100.
The victim gave the money to the errand boy immediately he received the items.
Later, Michael Punke met the victim and introduced himself as the chief executive officer of the oil field project and that he had come to inspect the oil sealants himself.
After checking the items, Michael Punke ordered the victim to supply 100 boxes but the victim told him that he could only supply the items if an agreement was signed.
Touching on the mode of payment, Michael Punke allegedly told the victim that they would pay him through the bank.
The victim then told the said CEO that he would make available only 10 boxes until he received the first payment, insisting that but before supplying them the items, the agreement form must be signed.
They then agreed to meet on May 11, 2016 at Fiesta Royale for the agreement to be signed.
The victim, upon his return from Kumasi, reported the matter to the police and on that day while in the process of signing the said documents, the police apprehended Michael Punke.
He is currently in police custody and is to be arraigned before court soon.
Meanwhile, further checks indicated that the suspect, who has been in the country for the past 13 years, is married to a Ghanaian lady and they have two children.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey