Police in Kumasi have arrested three officials of West-Palm Investment, a vehicle hire-purchase company, for allegedly defrauding its customers.
They are Christabel Boadu, Deputy Managing Director, Operations Manager Kwabena Owusu and Clients Relations Manager, Kwabena Owusu Ababio.Managing Director, Joseph Boadu, is however on the run, and police are on the hunt for him.
The company is accused of failing to deliver vehicles to customers who have paid deposits of between 1,700 and 13, thousand Ghana cedis each.
Victims have in the last few days besieged the Ashanti Regional Police Command Criminal Investigations Department offices to make complaints.They include police and military personnel, retired civil servants and taxi drivers.Each of them had paid 10 per cent of the cost of their respective preferred vehicle to be delivered in three months from date of payment.
Some of them have been chasing company officials for about ten months for their money or the promised vehicles.After persistent efforts failed, they ran to police for assistance.Kwame Owusu Donkor, a former Welfare Officer of the Obuasi Municipal Teachers Association was hoping to own a Hyundai Mighty van three months after depositing 4,500 Ghana cedis.
Nine months after making the deposit, neither the vehicle nor his money has been made available.Mr. Donkor told Nhyira Fm his pension life has been reduced to shambles. “They have been telling us stories upon stories, deceiving us all the time”, he said.
Nhyira News investigations reveal West-Palm also owes some car dealers a huge amount of money for vehicles purchased.Lawyer for the company, Kwame Asiedu-Koduah, has been trying to resolve issue with the vehicle dealers in what he says is in the interest of business relationship.
His efforts however appear to have made little impact, as four creditors have reportedly lodged complaint at the Suntreso District Command against West-Palm and its managers.
Nhyira Fm’s investigations reveal several beneficiaries who were allocated with vehicles failed to pay daily sales, plunging the company into financial difficulties.
So far, the company has allocated 856 vehicles to beneficiaries made up of Sprinter and urvan buses, saloon cars and vans.Operations Manager, Pastor Kwabena Owusu, who is one of the arrested officials, told Nhyira Fm the company has been facing challenges.
He admitted the failure to honour its part of the contract with clients and business partners.
“West-Palm we are still on our feet; and West-Palm we are here to deliver. What we want our clients to know is that they should bear with us”, he explained.
According to him, the company has had problems with liquidation because earlier beneficiaries failed to pay daily sales.
“Their brothers that we supplied them with the cars did not honour their part of their obligations, we were faced with liquidation problems”.
Surprisingly, West-Palm has so far failed to institute legal action against defaulting clients.Kwabena Owusu said the company is not exploring the option because it believes its customers are poor and vulnerable.He talked about plans to retrieve all monies in arrears.
Meanwhile, three officials who face defrauding under false pretence have since been granted police enquiry bail, while the search is on for the Managing Director.