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EOCO hunts for Lebanese jailed for fraud

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The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has launched a manhunt for a Lebanese national who was sentenced to jail for five years over fraud.

Naji Khalil was on 5th August 2020 arraigned before the Accra Circuit Court 4 presided over by His Honour M.E. Essandoh after having been investigated for serious offences.

The accused at the time of investigation was a member of a notorious international organised criminal group including Nabil Zayani (Lebanese), Abraham Faouri (Jordanian) and Tony Michaelis.

They were charged with conspiracy to defraud by false pretence, defrauding by false pretence, participating in an organised criminal group, and conspiracy to commit a crime to wit money laundering.

On 22nd June 2022, His Honour M. E. Essandoh sentenced Naji Khalil to five (5) years imprisonment with hard labour on two counts of Conspiracy to Defraud by False Pretence and Defrauding by False Pretence.

The convict was tried in absentia because he jumped bail during the trial and the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

The three (3) others were at large at the time of the court action and therefore were not available to take their pleas.

EOCO has therefore appealed to the general public for assistance towards the arrest of the said convict to serve his just prison terms.

Facts of the case

In April 2019, the victim Dr Khadidja Katir, an Algerian national, reported to EOCO and alleged that she had been defrauded by an organised crime group based in Ghana comprising four (4) suspects Naji Khalil, Nabil Zayani, Abraham Faouri and Tony Michaelis to the tune of USD138,000.

This was done under the pretext of airlifting ‘rough crystals’ worth USD 4 billion to her in Malta.

Following several telephone calls after the victim had transferred the money, the accused persons refused to pick up calls from her. However, on one occasion when they finally picked up her call, they threatened to kill her if she ever set foot in Ghana.

Despite the threats, the victim Dr Khadidja Katir arrived in Ghana where she lodged a complaint at EOCO for investigation.

Investigations confirmed that the suspects are members of an international organised crime syndicate that defrauds members of the unsuspecting public.

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