|Princess Asie Ocansey, a lady pastor, has been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service on fresh charges of human trafficking and other offenses including fraud.
The 52-year-old Chief Executive Officer of the Channel of Blessing Ministry was arrested in February this year on similar charges but was granted a GH¢20,000 bail.
The suspect was yesterday re-arrested following reports by more than a dozen young women claiming to be victims of the human trafficking business.
She was arrested about 9am and was quickly sent to her home at Trassaco then to her office at Tema for a thorough search by a team of CID officials.
Sources close to the CID unit told Daily Guide that the suspect owns three organizations namely Nacotec, Gold Tech and Channel of Blessing Ministry, which she claimed to be operating as non-governmental agencies but ended up using them as job placement agencies and a church.
The suspect, who hosts the Channel of Blessing programme on an Accra-based radio station on Saturday afternoons, preaches the word of God and mostly motivates her listeners with her inspirational messages.
At the end of each show, she advertises her organisation’s ability to recruit young and energetic people for job opportunities in countries in the Middle East such as Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, USA and Canada.
She often made her recruits, who were expected to be below age 35, to believe they would work as shopkeepers in supermarkets or as domestic servants and butchers.
Some young people were also recruited on Princess Ocansey’s visit to churches in Accra, Tema and other places.
The CID sources told Daily Guide that most of the victims, who had formally reported following an earlier report of the arrest of Princess Ocansey in the media, claimed she took various sums of monies as fee for her services. Some of the victims suffered the ordeal in 2009 and beyond.
“She charged some of her clients in local currency while for others she quoted US dollars,” said the CID sources who stated that the charges ranged between GH¢200 and $2000.
The police sources said since the suspect was granted bail after her first arrest, she had been on an “image cleansing campaign by personally calling some of her victims and refunding their monies to them Nicodemously”.
The suspect also held a press conference to deny that she had been arrested by the police for human trafficking.
She also reportedly solicited the support of pastors, chiefs and opinion leaders to either call on media houses which carried the story on her arrest to retract the story or issue rejoinders.
The police said investigations were still ongoing while preparations were underway to put her before court on charges of human trafficking and defrauding amongst others.
It would be recalled that on February 6, 2013, it was reported that based on a complaint by the US Embassy and a 27-year-old lady whose identity was not made known for security reasons, Princess Ocansey was arrested for human trafficking.
According to the story, the police said the young woman, who was a staunch Christian, was allegedly lured to Kuwait by the suspect, believing that she would live a better life but was shocked by what she went through on her arrival in the Middle East country.
The police said the young woman was pushed into prostitution and ended up in Ghana with a serious mental problem.
She claimed to have heard the announcement on the radio and followed up to Princess Asie Ocansey’s office in Tema. After a few days of orientation, seven of them were sent to Kuwait to work in a huge supermarket. She said on arrival, they were met by three Arab men who packed all them and their luggage into a car.
As soon as they arrived at their destination, their passports, luggage and mobile phones were taken from them. Thereafter, they were pushed into a room where they met young women from other countries.
They were not given water or food for the two days they stayed in the room with poor ventilation. It was locked from outside and opened when men from various recruiting agencies came to select those they thought could serve their purpose and took them away.
The victim said when she was picked by a man, she thought she was going to start work in a supermarket but she was moved from one location to another, sleeping with men, and at a point she passed out because she couldn’t take it anymore.
She was able to get in touch with her family through the doctor who treated her in the hospital in Kuwait, after which her relatives compelled Princess Ocansey to bring her back to Ghana.
Spotted in a white straight dress, Princess Ocansey prevented photojournalists from taking pictures of her yesterday when she returned from the search in her house. It was not immediately known if the police found any evidence in her house or office as police officers were tight-lipped.