A 27-year-old Nigerian woman, Martha Sherry Anthony, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by an Accra Circuit Court after she was found guilty of stealing GH¢80,000, the equivalent of N5.2m.
Anthony who claimed to be an artist, was sentenced on Friday, December 18, by the court presided over by Magistrate Evelyn Asamoah, who found her guilty as charged.
The convict was said to have stolen the amount from the accounts of two staff of Ghana’s Ministry of Finance.
Anthony, acting in connivance with another Nigerian, one Richard William who is now on the run, had deceived the victims into sending the said amount.
The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Godfred Asiedu Bampoe said the complainants, Eva Mends and Ernest Akore, had reported the theft and an investigation launched by the police led them to Anthony and Williams.
Chief Inspector Bampoe said the complainants received text messages purported to have been sent to their phones by the Minister of Finance to contact one Professor Sherry on mobile phone number 0547617489 for the details of her account and pay an amount of GH¢50,000.00 and GH¢30,000.00 into the complainants’ respective accounts.
The prosecution said the complainants contacted the accused persons on the phone and were given a Fidelity Bank account number to pay the said monies into it.
“After carrying out the instructions in the text message, the complainants later found out that the Minister of Finance was not the originator of the said text message, hence they reported the incident to the police.
“It was during the investigation that we zeroed in on Martha and arrested her. During interrogation, she mentioned William who is now on the run,” Chief Inspector Bampoe said.
He added that further investigations revealed William used a software technique known as spoofing to imitate the caller identity and message identity of the Minister who was then outside the country.
When the charges was read to her, Anthony reportedly broke down in tears and asked the court to have mercy on her because she had no one to assist her in the country.
According to her, she had been in custody for the past one year and eight months because she was unable to execute the bail bond set by the court.
The judge was said to have taken note of Anthony’s plea for leniency and the fact that she has been in custody for some months, although bail was granted and also that she was a first-time offender.