An Accra Circuit Court has sentenced a private legal practitioner, Dominic Owusu Sekeyere, to seven years’ imprisonment for defrauding by false pretenses.
His accomplice, Albert Kwadzo Coleman, aka Samuel Yeboah, was also slapped with a five-year jail term for his role in the shady deal.
The duo has also been ordered by the court to refund the money to the complainant.
The private lawyer, together with three accomplices, two of whom are on the run, are said to have collected $200,000 from one Ato Hamilton under the pretext of securing him a land.
According to the prosecution, Dominic Sekyere presented himself to the complainant as a lawyer for one of his accomplices, who impersonated one Dr Jennifer Jane-Brown Aryee and collected the money.
The two convicts were hauled before the court, presided over by Malike Wornya Dey on two counts of conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretenses.
They pleaded not guilty and after three years of trial, the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Dominic Owusu Sekyere, a senior attorney, who is in his mid-60s, was called to the Bar in 1994.
He has defended many people for more than 20 years in criminal cases, particularly at the Accra Circuit court.
The prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Ophelia Denteh, told the court that in June 2014, the complainant was contacted by Samuel Yeboah (Albert Kwadzo Coleman) who claimed he was residing in Texas in the United States of America.
She said Yeboah told the complainant that he had information that he was looking for land to buy at cantonments and its environs, adding that Yeboah also informed him that his girlfriend Dr Jennifer Jane-Brown Aryee had five parcels of land for sale at the aforementioned area.
The prosecutor said the complainant was asked to contact one Amoah, an agent who took him to the said land at Cantonments where they met someone in the bungalow.
Chief Inspector Denteh told the court that the occupant of the bungalow told the complainant that he had been served with a notice to vacate the land because the lawful owner of the land had put it up for sale.
She said the complainant, after inspecting the land, demanded the original documents to the land, which was given to him and he moved to the Land Department to conduct a search.
She narrated that of one of accused persons, who impersonated Dr Jennifer Jane-Brown Aryee, put the price of the land at US$200,000.00.
Chief Inspector Denteh stated that Lawyer Sekyere later prepared a contract of sale document and collected US$200,000 on behalf of the said Dr Jennifer Jane-Brown Aryee.
The prosecutor narrated that a week after the complainant paid the money, Yeboah informed the complainant that he had arrived in the country for a funeral and needed US$3,000, which the complainant gave to him.
Chief Inspector Denteh revealed that two weeks later, Coleman put pressure on the complainant to pay an additional amount of $300,000 since his client was in need of funds.
According to the prosecutor, the complainant became suspicious and upon investigation he realised that he had been defrauded since the rightful owner of the land was living abroad.
He reported the matter to the police and the lawyer and his accomplice were arrested.