Beware! -It’s a scam (Page 20)

Have you had someone throwing himself or herself against your vehicle and insisting you knocked him or her, and is harassing you for money? You are not alone. It is the latest trick in town.
The story is always that the incident happens at the blind side of the driver, mostly at the rear or on the side and not in front.

That is just one part of the tales of scam on our roads these days. Others are also using crying children at secluded places as a decoy to rob.

The con artist targets drivers of new vehicles or four wheel drives.

According to some drivers who fell in the traps of such youngsters, the ‘victim’ and his accomplice(s) often plead against reporting the case to the police, and when the mandatory 48-hour period elapses, they then come demanding money from the drivers.

Some of the affected drivers said they finally had to change their mobile numbers and sometimes residence to avoid the harassment.

Tales of the modus operandi of these people, whether at the Airport Residential Area, Achimota or Kasoa, are always the same. They always claim to have been hit by the driver at the rear even when the car is not reversing.

Victims talk

Take the case of a senior female journalist who asked not to be named. She was driving on the road from Association International School, heading to the National Service Secretariat, when she heard a thud and stopped.

“When I got down, here was this man holding one of his arms and wincing in pain. He claimed I had knocked him.”

“Being a responsible driver, I asked him to come with me to my company’s clinic but he insisted on me giving him money.”

“Then I changed my mind and insisted that we should report the matter to the police, by the time we reached Congress Hotel, he asked that I drop him. He was not interested in going to the police. That ended it,” she said, shaking her head.

Not all victims of this trick get off that easily. For a male banker in one of the local banks in the country, the experience was one that had made him extra-cautious on the road.

“I was travelling from Saltpond to Accra and just before Kasoa (I was using some Opel vehicle) I slowed down for some people to cross and immediately I started moving,  somebody just bumped into my car right falling behind the rear right tyre.

I never hit this lady with the strength of the car but I stopped and took her into the car. We went to the police station and then to Korle Bu for medical care.”

“I can’t confirm whether or not it was in league with the police but what I can confirm is that it was some kind of a ploy. They look at the car and try to create an accident scene and then the driver becomes some kind of financial supporter to the person.

This thing went on for about a month but, later, I was advised by a lawyer friend that it was better for me to send the case to court.”

I told the police that I wanted the case to go to court. When you hit somebody, you hit him or her with the front of your car, not the back, especially when you are not reversing.”

“When we got to court, the prosecutor was creating the impression that I hit her and all that. I told the judge about all that transpired, including reporting the matter and sending her to the hospital and the fact that she was becoming a burden, hence the case at the court.”

The judge told the policeman I had shown that I didn’t mean harm because I didn’t run away; I reported the case to the police and even took her to the hospital and made sure she received medical attention.

“The judge acquitted me and asked that I stop taking care of the girl. That ended the case. From that experience, I get the impression that some policemen are in league with these people because they don’t want to send the case to court- they rather dragged it and the girl kept demanding money.”

For another victim of the scam, he had to part away with GH¢240 as court fine, GHc 140 on his patient’s medical bills and GH¢90.00 as T&T for the patient.

“This guy insisted I ran my car on his foot at Achimota. We went to the Legon Hospital with other people who claimed he was their brother.”

“When I wanted the case reported to the police, they said they know I’m not a runaway driver, so it was okay. The hospital took care of him. I even paid for an X-ray which indicated that there was nothing wrong with his foot.”

“Subsequently, I visited him at home and gave him money for transport back to the hospital for the dressing of his sore. Later, this young man was asking for money for herbal treatment. Annoyingly, his wife even called me at dawn.”

“Interestingly, this same guy went to the police to report that I knocked him and refused to take care of him.”

He said the police acted sympathetically to the young man’s cause and accused him of neglecting to report the matter.

Later, the police, he said, advised that “I give him something (money) to end the matter. When I asked the policeman if he would want to be a witness to it, he declined. So my harassment continued until I insisted that the case go to court.”

Police advice

When contacted, the Director of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, (ACP) Angwubotoge Awuni, urged drivers to report all types of motor accidents, however minor they might be, to the nearest police station.

That, he said, besides preventing harassment of the drivers by the victims, it was an offence not to report accidents.

“It is wrong on your part to settle the matter without reporting it to the police. These reports also help us to build data on the number of accidents in the country,” he said.

Mr Awuni, who said he was not aware of such cases, however, stated that if  evidence established that such a person had intentionally caused the accident in order to claim compensation, that person could  be prosecuted.


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