Visa Fraud Scandal Caused My Downfall � Zaphenath Paneah Man

Gospel musician, Nicholas Omane Acheampong famed for hit songs like �Tabitha Cum� and the more recent �Zaphenath Paneah� has cautioned his colleague musicians to be wary of people who would want to involve them in shady deals. According to him, the higher musicians go in the industry, the more vulnerable they become to unscrupulous people and asked that musicians, be they secular or gospel should shun the company of such people; especially those self acclaimed visa contractors who claim to have the connections to take people abroad. Mr. Omane Acheampong, who has been out of the limelight for quite some time, said his life was almost destroyed and his career derailed when he became embroiled in a Visa racketeering scandal. Speaking on Adom FM�s drive show, Ofie Kwanso, he told the host Dr Dr Asanka that although he was only a victim of circumstances, it did not stop him from being disgraced as he was arrested and arraigned before court for visa fraud. The ace musician was arrested in 2004 for allegedly defrauding four people between 2002 and 2003, to the tune of �155,940,000.00 million (old cedis) under the pretext of securing visas for them to travel to Europe. According to the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper which broke the story, one of the victims Augustine Opoku, had alleged that in June 2003 the singer informed him that he was going to perform in Germany and could secure him a visa at the cost of $3,700, which he duly paid but he never received the visa. But Nicholas Omane Acheampong said that he was tricked into the deal. He explained that after a successful run with his song 'Tabitha Cum', a so-called businessman called Foster Asomah promised to take him on a tour of Europe. He said Foster introduced him to a former Ashanti Regional Minister who he (Foster) claimed was part of the deal and that convinced him to start organizing people to join him on the trip. Nicholas said he was able to organise close to 20 people who paid all the monies Foster who bolted with the money leaving him to deal with the wrath of the people who had been duped. He said he decided to travel to the United States to work and while he was there, he was informed that the P&P had published a story about him accusing him of fraud adding that when he later came back to settle the issue, he was arrested by the Dansoman police and later arraigned before court. The 'Zaphenath Paneah' man revealed that he had to sell all his belongings to pay the victims adding he was still paying people. He said he was so affected by the matter that his whole career was derailed; he could not concentrate on anything let alone write a song and that delayed his entry back into the music industry. Nicholas Omane Acheampong said his troubles influenced him to choose the 'Zaphenath Paneah' (which was the name given to Joseph by the Pharaoh when he was made the Prime Minister of Egypt) as the title of his album because he knows God will reinstate him to his former position when he was rated among the best gospel musicians in Ghana.