The detective left the interrogation chamber with the details I had given him hoping to find the missing money in my account whiles I was hoping it will prove my innocence. He came back furious because according to him I had lied. This got me a few slaps and torture from a younger officer in uniform. As I sat there half naked with a swollen eye and bloodied nose, the detective threw a piece of paper onto the table. I struggled to read the print out but when I eventually read it I was shocked. The paper proved that I had authorized the payment of GH₵ 53million from the company’s account into my personal account. Then it further shows that I also issued a cheque of the said amount to Angela Fosu-Mensah who withdrew every single pesewa of the money from my bank account.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading, it was obvious someone was trying to frame me but the signature on the cheque was undoubtedly mine. I couldn’t remember signing a cheque of that amount let alone to someone like Angela. The highest amount on a cheque she ever got off me was about GH₵ 2000. But then, my mind slowly drew me to the night I signed the blank cheque. However, I was damn sure Angela didn’t leave my place with the cheque. I saw the cheque on the bedside drawer after she had unceremoniously left my place. At that moment, how I wished I could ask the detectives to take me back to my house so I could confirm that wasn’t the cheque. It still wouldn’t explain how Angela would know that such an amount of money would be in my account at that particular point in time.
Whiles I was there wondering what was going on, a young soft spoken police officer entered the chamber. Unlike the others who were a bit brute and forceful with their words, this man was calm, gentle and seemed sympathetic to my plight. He sought to find out where I had hidden the money but when I proclaimed my innocence like a singing bird, he requested I helped him find Angela.
On a piece of paper, I struggled to write down the residential address of Angela. By the time I was done writing the address down, the piece of paper had blood spots all over as blood had dripped from my nose onto the paper. This was an indication of the harsh manner the police had treated me within the short time I was with them. But the end was nowhere in sight and the worst was yet to come. I saw a different side of that calm soft spoken officer when he stormed the chamber some four hours after I had given them the directions to Angela’s apartment. According to the officer, when he and his colleagues got to the apartment, they were told that no one by that name has ever lived at the place. This infuriated them the more as they thought I was only putting them on a wild goose chase. The officers began to see me as a hostile suspect who was not ready to corporate with them and as such they dealt with me with iron hands. Whatever happened to ‘Human Rights’ I didn’t know but it was quite obvious ‘he’ was nowhere to be found at that police station. The police threw my rights to the dogs perhaps under the instructions of the rich and powerful Mr Agyei.
I had stopped professing my innocence as the more I did, the more the officers felt insulted and as such, the more they beat me up. When it became clear they were not going to get anything meaningful out of me, they helped me to the shower to freshen up before I was allowed a change of clothes. I don’t know where they got those clothes from but they looked out of size on me. Then finally, I was allowed to make a phone call. First, I dialled Angela’s number and it was ‘either switched off or out of coverage area’ then I dialled Jemima’s number as well but she didn’t pick up. I placed calls to people at work but no one was ready to assist me perhaps for fear of being tagged an accomplice.
Suddenly, my world began to feel so small. Initially, I was the one pushing for the police to grant me my right of a phone call but now I was shying away from that right. As each attempt was met with denial leaving me red faced. Eventually, I got through to an old Senior High School mate, Timothy, who also happened to be a lawyer. I don’t know how he was able to manage it but Timothy was able to get the police and Mr Agyei to agree to release me with the condition that I would get the money and repay within a month.
There was no way I was going to be able to raise such an amount of money within a month. As a matter of fact, it would even take me years to do so. In a way, I was sad because the fact that Timothy agreed to such an arrangement showed that even he was not convinced I was innocent.
‘I know you are not happy with this arrangement but under the current circumstance, this is our only chance’ he tried convincing me. ‘It was not easy getting Mr Agyei to even agree to this’.
‘What happens if after the scheduled date I am not able to get the money’ I sounded worried.
‘Hmmm… then we will have to face Mr Agyei in court and I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes should it come to that’ Timothy told me.
I could see from his facial expression that he had lost hope even well before the start of the fight. With where I found myself, I had to try and locate the money before the 1 month was up. My bank account was frozen, I wouldn’t be able to afford the services of another lawyer and the only lawyer I had at the moment wouldn’t put up a good fight and that was if I was lucky to have him put up any fight at all.
Having had to spend nearly 48hours in a police cell, when I walked back into my apartment, I finally got to appreciate the opportunity I had taken for granted all these years. Majority of us go to bed at night and wake up in the morning on our beds. We move to work and get back home at the end of the day, these things seem so routine we hardly appreciate what a gift they are to us. Thinking about the fact that I stand the chance of losing my freedom if I am not able to recover the money scared the hell out of me. Then it dawned on me to check up on the cheque I signed the night before I was arrested. When I entered my bedroom, the cheque was nowhere to be found. My search turned out fruitless, at that point I felt like committing suicide. I began to self-doubt my memory. I was sure after Angela had left my place the cheques was still around. After Angela came Jemima, but Jemima was not the person that cashed the money out of my account so I didn’t have any reason to suspect her. Unless something out of the ordinary comes up, it will be very easy for the prosecution to put this fraud on me.
I visited Angela’s apartment only to find the place was empty. Since I was on good terms with the caretaker of the place, he told me Angela had packed out of the apartment albeit in a rush. From that statement, I figured my best chance at surviving this episode was to get hold of Angela. However, for a lady I had been sleeping with for God knows how long, it was disappointing I had no idea which side of the four cardinal points leads to her hometown. I felt stranded. I sought to find out from her friends if anyone of them had any idea where she could be but all that proved futile. The hours turned into days and the days into weeks, soon two weeks had passed and it was clear I was not making head way. I saw myself inching closer towards becoming an inmate of James Fort Prison.
The few times that I got a call from Timothy, it was to remind me of the fact that the time to repay the money was fast approaching. As if GH₵ 53million was an amount that was easy to come by. The last time I spoke to him on phone, it unnerved me to the extent that I experienced temporal insanity. The scene I caused in the neighbourhood that day was enough to keep me indoors for the coming days.
My experience as a kid in the household of Mr Danso had significantly helped to erode any level of spirituality in me. A number of my colleagues were ready to take me to see spiritualists who could help whiles others proposed visiting so called powerful pastors in the country. I had my own reservations about consulting traditional priests and as such, opted for the Christian solution to my predicament. To my dismay, I could not raise the sort of money these pastors were asking for.
I was dejectedly walking on the street one afternoon when a beautiful Nissan Rogue passed me by. The car caught my attention so I stared at it as I walked on the pavement. Traffic slowed the car to a virtual stop and it was there that I recognised a face in the car. Seated at the back passenger seat of the car was Jemima. The car was back in motion before I could wave it down. Quickly, I jumped unto an ‘Okada’ and asked the rider to help me track down the vehicle. We ended up in an expensive neighbourhood at East Legon. The ‘Okada’ rider was furious when I poured him a handful of 10 pesewas coins to settle the fare for the ride.
At the door, I knocked and Jemima answered.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked in shock when she realised I was the one at the door.
‘I have been looking for you. You are not even picking up my calls.’ I told her.
‘It is because I don’t want to be found, not by you or anyone from my past’ she told me. Giving me an indication she had moved on and was now a different person.
From our conversation, she confirmed she had gone ahead divorcing Mr Anderson but it was obvious her lifestyle had significantly improved. An improvement the settlement from the divorce wouldn’t be able to achieve. I sought to find out where the money came from but she just shrugged it off.
The only two people I was with the night before the morning I was arrested were Angela followed by Jemima. A blank cheque I signed that night had mysteriously disappeared along with a large sum of money that was transferred into my account without my knowledge. Angela cannot be found and Jemima has suddenly become very rich. Could these two have something to do with the alleged fraud? I thought hard about it but just couldn’t strike the connection. When I began to ask her too many questions, she drove me out of her house.
I left the house for a pub where I could only afford cheap locally distilled gin. I drenched all my sorrows in the gin. Under the influence of alcohol, I went back to Jemima’s place not only drunk but fuelled with rage and armed with a weapon. The little voice in my head told me if I threaten her, I will be able to get the truth out of her. She was my only hope of proving my innocence. Honestly, I strongly didn’t for a second think Jemima had anything to do with my situation but as things stood, she was the only one I could vent my anger on. I stormed her house in my drunken state and threatened the hell out of her.
She, initially, denied having a hand in framing me up but then she saw that I was at a point in my life where I wouldn’t mind doing the unthinkable. I could sense the fear in her.
With a soft voice, she said ‘Kwame, you have maltreated a lot of women’.
I immediately knew she was talking about the fact that I threw away her idea of marriage. But it still didn’t stop me from asking her ‘what do you mean by that?’
‘Angela, Janet, me and the many others you cannot even remember’.
The mention of the name Angela cleared any remaining bit of alcohol in my system. I knew I had done a diligent job at keeping Jemima from meeting any of the other ladies. I was, therefore, surprised she mentioned Angela. As for Janet, I was still struggling to recollect who she was.
‘What is it you want to know?’ she asked wiping the tears from her face.
‘How do you know Angela? And who is Janet?’
She managed a smile ‘Which one do you seek answers to; how I know Angela or how we succeeded in screwing you? Men always think they can take women for granted. You said all the nice words in this world to me, made me blush with lust and seduced me out of my panties. But all those words were lies just so that you could bed me. And you didn’t even mind the fact that I was married.’
For the next half an hour, she briefed me on how in her quest to surprise me one day, she chanced on Angela at my place. The two got into a conversation and it didn’t take much effort for them to strike an acquaintance. They were united in their common goal, which was to teach me a lesson. From that day, the two women had the upper hand in their dealings with me. Unfortunately, I thought I was the one in control of the situation.
Subsequently, when the infidelity of Mr Anderson was exposed, it was Jemima who convinced the man to steal money from the company. The plan was for Mr Anderson to use his status in the company to steal the money, frame me and with that money, start a new life with Jemima and the kids. After succeeding in getting Mr Anderson to sheepishly agree to this plan, the woman double crossed him.
The money was worked out and wired by Mr Anderson but the authorization for it to be paid into my account was done by me when I carelessly signed a bunch of documents without doing due diligence. This formed the main case of the police as they accused me of stealing the money. Though Jemima was the one that picked up the signed blank cheque from my room, it was Angela who cashed it. To be able to cash such a huge amount required the assistance of an insider. This is where Janet was brought into the picture.
I could now remember perfectly how I know Janet. A couple of years back, young Janet was a mobile banker for a financial institution whose target clientele was the informal sector. I constantly tried luring her to my place under the pretext of helping her beat her target by opening an account with a large sum of money. She resisted my advances on a number of occasions but I persevered until finally I had my way with her. My relationship with her afterwards became topsy-turvy. Unfortunately for me, Janet was friends with Jemima and worked at one of the branches of the bank I save with. On her part, Janet paid the money to Angela and falsely confirmed receiving a signed approval note from me. The three women then shared the proceeds of their loot whiles Mr Anderson was blackmailed into keeping quiet about the whole deal. After all, he still had the opportunity to lick Agnes’ feet and maintain a certain level of societal prominence as against going to jail.
Sarcastically, Jemima laughed out loud and asked ‘so what are you going to do about it? It’s your word against mine. It will be interesting to know what Mr Agyei will make of this whole thing’. She seemed to want to threaten me.
I grabbed her by the neck and as she kicked and tried to free herself, I watched as I slowly squeezed the life out of her. She was dying but I didn’t care because either ways, my life was finished anyways. She was just about to take her last breath when three policemen knocked down the door.
‘Hands up!!!’ they shouted in unison. Apparently, the police had been tailing me since my release hoping I will lead them to the money.
My situation just went from fraud to attempted murder. Now the police had enough ammunition to use against me.
After about 5 years of trial and having changed 5 lawyers, one for each year, the judge finally slummed his gavel sentencing me to 35 years imprisonment with hard labour. If the wages of sin is death and this was my second sin then I might have just died the second time.