A self-appointed witch doctor, who was stopped by police carrying a significant amount of cash, has been ordered to pay back £28,500 in one of the most bizarre cases of money-laundering West Midlands Police have encountered.
28 year old Elhadji Gassama of Gillott Road, Edgbaston told officers the £10,000 he was carrying was to be used for human sacrifice in Africa. He has now been ordered has been ordered to pay £28,500 after detectives proved he had obtained it illegally by fiddling his tax, misleading clients and lying about his employment.
Gassama was arrested on suspicion of money laundering on 15th May last year, after intelligence was received about discrepancies in his earnings. He was later released without charge, but officers from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit took him to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act because of suspicions that the cash had been obtained illegally.
They proved to magistrates in his absence earlier this week that he had
obtained £28,500 from crime and he was ordered to forfeit the cash.
Officers showed that money transferred in and out of his account on a frequent basis was not in line with his declared income. The court also heard that very little cash was actually being transferred to Africa, despite Mr Gassama telling his clients that it would be sent there to “Make their dreams and wishes come true.”
Detective Sergeant Ian Bulloch said: “Elihadji Gassama is a professional liar, who has made a fortune by misleading others and fiddling the system.
“He claimed he’d been earning money from working as a security guard at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull but we proved that was untrue. When we first stopped him and he told us the cash was for human sacrifice in Africa, I was shocked to say the least. We hear quite a lot of excuses but this was something else. We were later told that the money was to be used to slaughter camels in Africa.”
The cash seized will now go to local projects and initiatives in the community.