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Alleged fraud: Indian remanded for Le224m

July 20, 2016 By Hawa Amara

One Sudin Desai, an Indian national, was yesterday remanded at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road for allegedly defrauding his compatriot Rajeev Verma the sum of Le224 million.

The accused was arraigned at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.1, presided over by Magistrate Albert J. Moody, on three counts of obtaining credit by fraud order than false pretenses and issuing of cheques against insufficient fund, contrary to law.

According to the particulars of offence, the accused on diverse dates between 1st September and 31st October, 2015, at 16 King Street in Freetown incurred debt or liability by obtaining the sum of Le164m from the complainant by means of fraud other than false pretenses.

The prosecutor also alleged that the accused issued Skye Bank Sierra Leone Limited cheques with serial No.01554110 and 01554111 dated 3rd May, 2016 with a face value of L112m, drawn in account No.314727111881 SD Trade Link Sierra Leone limited, against sufficient fund in the said account.

In his testimony, complainant Verma told the court that in September, 2015 while at his No.25 Wellington Street office, he received a phone call from the accused.

He said the accused told him that he resides at Sierra Light House Hotel, Aberdeen, and that he was a businessman who wanted to export 150 containers of scrap mental to Bangladesh through his shipping agency.

The witness continues that the accused subsequently came to his office and they had a chat, adding that it emerged later that he and the accused attended the same university.

He said the accused told him that he had stayed in the United States of America for 20 years and that he had come to Sierra Leone to invest US$9 million.

Verma said the accused then told him he hadn’t sufficient money to stay at the hotel and pleaded to “allow him stay at my residence for nine days.”

“Because the accused had told me that he hadn’t money to buy the scrap metals and promised to ship the 150 containers through my shipping agency, and also that he was my college mate and compatriot, I decided to be giving him money bit by bit in two installments, to a total of Le42m. He later told me that he was going to sell one bungalow in America in order to give me my money,” said the complainant.

He added that he informed the accused that he was going to Indian on holiday.

“He told me that he wanted to ship four containers and that he wanted some more money. I gave him US$3000. I also gave him another US$8000 within two days’ time. He started processing the scrap metals for export and I have to give an additional of Le42 million for the processing of documents for the shipment,” he further testified.
“I paid the Trade Ministry, custom, transport and processing bills. I later requested for my money, but he told me that he hadn’t got the money yet. I also sold my car to him on credit about US$10000 in November last year,” he said.
According to him, the total amount of money paid to the accused was more than Le224 million.

“When I went to India, the accused asked me to give US$2000 to his wife, whom he said they had stayed together in America for about 20 years. To my surprise the wife told me that she has never seen or lived in America. When I returned to Freetown, I asked him as to why he lied to me but he said sorry. I requested my money from the accused person and in April this year he gave me Le60m,” he narrated.
He said in April this year, the accused left his house at night together with his house helper without his consent. “I tried several times to call him on his cell phone but to no avail. I only saw him at the CID after I had reported the matter,” he said.

The matter is prosecuted by Sahid M. Sesay, while the accused was represented by C. Macauley.

The matter continues on 21 July.

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