In a landmark ruling, David Aseye Tay – the Managing Director of Renaissance Oil Limited, an unlicensed Oil Marketing Company – has been convicted on 23 charges of defrauding by false pretense, amounting to over GH¢27.9million. The amount GH¢27.9million in 2018 was equivalent to US$6million, when US$1 was exchanged at GH¢4.67.
The verdict was delivered after a full two-year trial at the Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.
Despite initially pleading not guilty, Tay was found guilty on all counts – which include defrauding by false pretense, issuance of false cheques and money laundering, among others.
The charges against Tay stemmed from his false representation to a licenced Bulk Distribution Company (BDC) – Misyl Energy Company Ltd., who are importers of finished petroleum products and owned by Dr. Nick Danso Adjei.
Prosecutors in court revealed that in January 2018 Renaissance Oil was introduced to Misyl Energy, and Tay subsequently entered into negotiations with the General Manager of the complainant’s company to lift products in the name of three other Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs): Goodness Energy Limited, Compass Oleum Limited and G&G Oil Company Limited.
During the negotiations, the prosecution argued, Tay knew that two of the OMCs – Goodness Energy and Compass Oleum – were not represented by him. Nonetheless, he misrepresented to the OMCs that he had imported petroleum products and could supply them from oil farms belonging to certain BDCs. The two OMCs made full payment to Tay, expecting the products to be delivered, but he failed to fulfil his obligations.
The court heard that Tay intentionally stopped making payments to Misyl Energy, amounting to GH¢27,987,250 – resorting to issuing dishonoured cheques to cover the amount owed. Additionally, he used the proceeds from defrauding Misyl Energy to purchase G&G Oil – another OMC, and acquired various properties.
The fraudulent activities eventually aroused suspicion within Misyl Energy, prompting its Chairman, Dr. Nick Danso Adjei, to report the matter to police for investigation. During the course of investigation, it was revealed that Tay had issued a post-dated cheque worth GH¢250,000 which was later dishonored.
Justice Lydia Osei Marfo has deferred Tay’s sentencing to May 29, following the court’s order for restitution by the complainant as part of his mitigation plea. The convict has been remanded into prison custody until the sentencing date.
This court case is said to have brought to light the fraudulent activities of the convict David Aseye Tay, who is alleged to have defrauded other players within the oil and gas industry – including a doctor who is said to have passed away after he succeeded in defrauding him of a US$1million. He is also said to owe the revenue authority an amount running into hundreds of thousands of cedis.
But this time, unfortunately for David Aseye Tay – now a convict, he took his activities to the wrong company hoping to defraud them to the tune of US$6million dollars; but Dr. Nick Danso Adjei handed him over for the law to take its course.
The conviction of David Aseye Tay sends a strong message about Ghana’s commitment to combatting financial fraud within the oil industry. As this high-profile case continues to unfold, the outcome of sentencing and subsequent legal actions will be closely watched by both the business community and public.