Man charged for impersonating First Lady in scholarship scam

first_imgClaiming mental illness…prosecution bashed for illogical reasoningOne day after he was hauled before Magistrate Leron Daly, slapped with a string of fraud charges in connection with sums of money allegedly obtained from victims while purporting to be the First Lady (Sandra Granger), Mohammed Ali returned on Thursday last to face Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, before whom he claimed to be suffering from a mental illness for which he is undergoing treatment at the “Berbice mad house”.Ali has been convicted on several fraud and simple larceny charges, and was serving time at the New Amsterdam Prisons when the allegations were made. Between April 1 and April 30, 2017, by falsely pretending to be the First Lady andMohammed Alibeing in a position to offer scholarships to his victims, he allegedly obtained twelve pennyweight of gold (valued at $139,000) from Beverly Harris at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara; $30,000 worth of phone cards from a person at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo; and some $30,000 in cash from another victim. These transactions were reportedly executed over the telephone.The accused had initially denied the charges laid against him. However, he admitted to inducing several persons to send sums of money to his phone, but not to the extent to which he was charged. In what seemed to be an acceptance of fate, the accused then expressed his desire to meet the First Lady in the face of a possibly lengthy penalty sentence.On Thursday, the Chief Magistrate had cause to admonish Prosecutor Arvin Moore because of the incomplete status of the file, and questioned why the charge was initiated in the manner it was.“Don’t file charges unless you are ready to proceed… You do not bring convicted prisoners out of prison willy-nilly, unless you are ready to bring them out! You’re not about logistics!” she said in rebutting the prosecution’s position that charges were initiated following advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).McLennan opined that the charges should not have been pressed in such a rushed manner. She advanced that the police should rather have waited until completion of investigation, as the accused was “not going anywhere”, being confined within the walls of the prison.As part of her reasoning, the magistrate bemoaned the issue of accessibility (of convicted prisoners) who had to be transported from their place of holding to the courts for every hearing.When given a chance to speak, Ali contended that he was undergoing counselling and treatment for an illness which he did not wish to discuss in public hearing, while further alleging that he was denied medication for three days, which he said provoked his condition, causing him to slit his wrists.Again the prosecution came under fire for failing to ascertain the health status of the accused, which inevitably led to the violation of a fundamental constitutional right.The Prosecution requested to be granted one month to complete the file, and the case was adjourned to January 22, 2018.Mohamed Ali is also an artist, who had studied at the Burrowes School of Art. He brought with him to court several pieces of his work, one of which he presented to the Chief Magistrate.“This one is for you ma’am…I have others, you can have a look if you like,” he was heard saying as an officer escorted him out of the courtroom.An obviously intrigued Magistrate McLennan read the poetic quote to the court, ending with the words, ‘Dear Lord, thank You for another chance”.In August last, amidst several allegations, the First Lady had cautioned the public against entertaining telephone calls and email messages which sought to exhort sums of money from persons under the promise of scholarship opportunities offered by her. She reminded that no such offer exists under her office, but rather under the remit of the Public Service Ministry. (Paula Gomes)last_img read more

Fueled by passion and history, Kerr hunts Gor continental success

first_imgIt is that piece of history and passion for success that is pushing Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr as he prepares his team to begin their continental journey on Saturday afternoon with a preliminary round tie against Equatorial Guinea side Leones Vegetarianos.“I know the history of Kenyan teams not qualifying for group stages of continental football and that gives me a bit more incentive to ensure that this team breaks that run. I am also hoping that it gives players incentive as well to prove that we are good enough,” Kerr told Capital Sport.He added; “It’s upon the players to create history; nobody remembers number two or number three. You have to be number one to be remembered. The players should take this chance now and create history.”Gor Mahia defender Wellington Ochieng blasts the ball into the net as teammate Ernest Wendo tries to defend during a training session at the Camp Toyoyo Ground. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluGor have always had their journey end in the first round but with the CAF continental matches re-aligned beginning last season, K’Ogalo can have a shot at the group stages in two different ways.First, they can take the direct route into the Champions League group stage by winning the preliminary and first round home and away matches. If they get past Vegetarianos, they will meet the winner between their 1987 opponents Esperance or ASAC Concorde of the Comoros.A loss in this round will give them a second shot at continental football group stages, but it will be in the second tier Confederations Cup. They will head into a play off with 16 other teams who have progressed from the first two rounds of the second tier tourney.“We know it’s tough but that is our target and we will work to achieve it. The spirit of the players in training has been fantastic this week. The energy and effort the players have put in is brilliant. However, sometimes the nerves and excitement of the game might work against us but I will speak to them to ensure they relax and enjoy the occasion,” added the coach.The tactician expects a tough duel against Vegetarianos, though he says it has proved difficult to do any scouting on them as no information is available about the team that won the Equatorial Guinean league for the first time ever in 2017.“I like to prepare for a game with some information on the opposition but now we can’t find anything. But that in a way it is a good thing because I can concentrate on us and ensuring we are strong enough,” he noted.Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr during a training session at the Camp Toyoyo Ground. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKerr who led Gor to the league title with a 19- point cushion in his first season in charge last year hopes to make even more history, but concedes he is under immense pressure to deliver.“The pressure is on me because did very well last year. To be honest teams need time to gel and especially when you have new players. But I am happy that we are doing well and the new players have worked so hard they are pushing the older players to work harder,” the coach further notes.K’Ogalo has already started their season hitting the right notes; they beat arch rivals AFC Leopards 1-0 in the season opening Super Cup and kicked off their league defence with a flattering 4-0 maul of Nakumatt last weekend.The tactician hopes they can keep the form running in Machakos against Vegetarianos and his skipper Harun Shakava has promised to lead the players from the front.“It is a tough level of football but we are ready for it. We want to make history and make it into the group stages so hopefully we start with a win at home. I urge the fans to turn out in large numbers and support us,” Shakava stated.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr gives a thumbs up during the KPL Super Cup on January 28, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10- For close to two and a half decades, no Kenyan club has managed to manoeuvre into the group stages of continental football, a sad tale for a country that produced a continental winner in 1987.That team that put Kenya into the map of continental might was Gor Mahia; beating Tunisian giants Esperance to the Mandela Cup.last_img read more