Samuel Teye Nartey, chief driver at the Ghana Football Association (GFA), last Friday nearly collapsed after an Accra Circuit Court handed him an 18-month prison term for stealing $63,481.20 which was a refund of the travelling expenses of the senior national team, the Black Stars.
The accused person, believed to be in his late 50s, had to quickly hold on to the dock where he stood as his sentence was pronounced by the trial judge Ebenezer Osei Darko.
He was quickly escorted out of the courtroom by police officers to ensure that he regained his composure.
Apart from the jail-term, the chief driver would have to cough up the money, which was a refund of the travelling expenses of the Black Stars for participation in the African Cup of Nations in South Africa last year.
Nartey was given cheques in dollars and Ghana Cedis to deposit at United Bank for Africa (UBA). But after cashing the cheques and withdrawing GH¢9,000 at Barclays Bank meant for the MTN FA Cup, the accused person returned and told his boss he could not find the money.
Close Circuit Television footage, however, showed that Nartey neither deposited the said $63,481.20 into the Barclays Bank nor did he give the money to anybody at the bank, even though he claimed that he met a gentleman there who was watching him closely and later followed his vehicle.
Three witnesses including acting General Secretary of the association, Emmanuel Gyimah, were called by the prosecuting team, led by Chief Inspector S. Sarkwah, while the accused person called one witness.
The trial judge, in his judgment, noted that the accused person had failed to convince the court that he was indeed innocent of the offence he was being charged with and noted that the evidence he gave about three nails deflating one of the tyres of his vehicle contradicted that of his witness.
He noted that the accused person’s claims that he met a gentleman at the UBA who watched him closely, so he suspected that it was the said guy who stole the money was not tenable, as investigations revealed that the vehicle had not been tampered with.
The trial judge also noted that Nartey himself had admitted during cross-examination that nobody broke into his vehicle.
He said the facts of the case and evidence in totality proved that it was the accused person who stole the money and consequently jailed him.
The facts of the case, which was presented by Inspector Sarkwah, are that the complainant is the acting General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) while the accused person was the chief driver there.
He noted that on February 13, 2013 Nartey was sent on an errand to present two different cheques of GH¢9,000 and the $63,481.20 at the UBA and to withdraw cash on another cheque with the face value of GH¢1,250 at the Barclays Bank, Osu branch.
The police officer noted that after transacting business at the banks, the driver returned to the office with the GH¢9,000 and told his boss that he could not find the $63,000; so a complaint was lodged with the police.
Furthermore, he noted that a CCTV video footage at the two banks revealed that the driver did not carry the dollars on him to the Barclays Bank hall, even though he said he had deposited the money there.
The chief inspector also noted that no damage was caused to the vehicle of the driver.