An Accra Circuit Court presided by Ms Adelaide Abui Keddy has granted eight persons, including a woman, a GH¢100,000.00 bail with two sureties each over illegal money changing business and ordered that the sureties be justified with any property valued GH¢100,000.00.
In addition, she requested Mohammed Ali, Barikisu Yakubu, Shaibu Suleman Issah, Barry Ali, Bashiru Saadu, Saadu Hamidu, Muhamadu Shamshudeen and Karim Yahaya to report twice in a month to the police until the end of the case.
Inspector Isaac Babayi told the Court that the Bank of Ghana together with a team of police officers embarked on an exercise to clamp down on illegal forex trade at Tudu, Accra business centre between November 9 and 10, 2022.
He said the suspects were arrested when investigations revealed they were engaged in the trade without a license, stating that a search on them revealed thousands of cedis and foreign currencies such as Naira and the United States dollars.
The prosecution said GH¢2,300.00 and US$87 were seized from Mohammed, GH¢10,010.00 and 6,002 Naira from Barikisu, GH¢3,850.00 and 65,000 CFA from Shaibu and GH¢848.00 and US$70 from Barry.
The prosecution said police found GH¢52 and 25 Naira on Bashiru, GH¢360.00 on Hamidu and GH¢42.00 on Karim.
A team of lawyers led by Mr Victor Kwadjoga Adawudu, in praying for bail, said the accused persons were arrested on Thursday, November 10 and arraigned on Monday, November 14, 2022, which breached the constitutional injunction of 48 hours.
The defense counsel said all the accused persons had denied the offence because they had no idea about the business and had not engaged in it.
He said some of them lived and traded around the business area and were caught in the swoop, adding that Barikisu, for instance, was travelling to Lagos, which had its terminal close to the area.
Mr Adawudu said Bashiru, the son of Barikisu, was also caught in the swoop as he was escorting his mother to the bus terminal to go to Lagos.
Additionally, he said both Hamidu and Shamshudeen, commercial motorbike operators, were also passersby.
Mr Adawudu said there were family and friends to stand sureties, adding they had fixed places of abode within the jurisdiction of the Court, and that they were not flight risk.
The prosecution, however, disagreed and said they should be kept in police custody to assist police in investigations.
It argued that some were a flight risk and that their travelling documents were seized during the arrest. The prosecution also feared they would interfere with investigations.
The eight persons pleaded not guilty to operating a forex business without a license and will make their next appearance on December 12, 2022.
The prosecution said their accomplices managed to flee the scene and that efforts were being made to get them to face the law.