The Chief Executive Officer of Prime Hedge Investments Limited, Richard Appiah, has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by a Financial and Economic division of the High Court, for defrauding 154 persons and companies under the pretext of investing their monies for them. Appiah is said to have collected over GHc 5 million and other amounts in foreign currencies from his clients to invest for a period of six months to one year, with the promise of 4 to 10 percent interest on the monies deposited.
In the judgment delivered today [Friday], Justice Efia Serwaa Asare Botwe said the prosecution proved beyond every reasonable doubt that the accused, who pleaded not guilty, perpetuated the act. According to the prosecution, led by Winifred Sarpong, during the trial, the accused, whose company was located at Sakumono in Accra, had no licence to operate banking business.
He is alleged to have collected monies as deposits and paid interest between four to 10 per cent in six to 12 months. The prosecution further added that, Appiah paid interest promptly when he commenced business, and as such won the confidence of his clients.
However, a client who deposited his GH 16,000 cedis with the institution could not be paid his principal and interest, and therefore lodged a complaint with the Police which led to the arrest of Appiah. Following his arrest, 154 people also lodged complaints claiming that he had collected monies between GHc 1,000 and GHc 250,000 from individuals and companies, but failed to refund their monies. Several Ghanaians have fallen victim to such scams with the most criticized one being the DKM Microfinance scandal.