In April 2019 Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh deceived a b&b / shortstay accommodation in The Netherlands. The owners provided a detailed account of what happened. It gives helpful insight in the cunny tactics and lies of this swindler from Ghana.
We relate the story in their own words:
“In our property in Ede we regularly host guests for Wageningen University and Research (WUR), an internationally well-known university specialized in food and life sciences. Most of our guests are super satisfied with their stay and it rarely happens that they don’t pay their bill or otherwise abuse our hospitality. But Addeah turned out to be the worst visitor we’ve had in many years. We even had to end his stay prematurely, which really is the last resort in hospitality. He didn’t pay his bill and continually came up with excuses and lies, in the end even falsely accusing and threatening us. He has been officially reported to the Dutch police for swindling / scamming and slander.
When Addeah arrived in our accommodation on 27 March 2019, he showed us an admission letter of Wageningen University, signed by the head of the Student Service Center. It stated that he had been admitted to the ‘Organic Agriculture’ master’s program. So we thought: ‘Great, he has already been screened by the university, he is coming here with a purpose.’ He had communicated to us that he would pay immediately upon arrival and that he planned to be on campus every day.
Students who come to Wageningen for a longer period are always advised to also register with housing provider Idealis. A b&b or shortstay is a relatively expensive option and only suitable to bridge the period to a regular room. But Addeah didn’t think that was necessary, he insisted on booking with us for three months, until the end of June. I asked, ‘Are you sure?’ but he was adamant. He did ask for a reduced student rate though and we (partially) granted this to him.
The first days and weeks with Addeah were positive. He seemed to be a polite man. He said he felt very much at home with us and shared a lot about Ghana and his family. We offered him a listening ear.
But during the course of his stay, that image began to tilt. It started with the fact that, contrary to what he had emailed us, he didn’t pay immediately upon arrival. He could only pay a few hundred euros and asked if he could settle the rest of his reservation by bank. I agreed, but immediately said: ‘International money transfers from Africa can take 7-10 days to complete. Until your bank payment is received, you have to cover for your stay in cash.’ We don’t want to chase guests, they are responsible themselves for the timely payment of their stay.
It soon became apparent that Addeah did not go to campus every day as he had said, but hung in his room all day. He only came out to shower and then used more water and energy than our entire family put together. He found our 12 square meter bathroom on the small side. ‘We have very large bathrooms in Ghana,’ he claimed. I drily remarked that an acquaintance of mine is currently building public toilets and showers in Accra because the majority of the population does not yet have running water.
Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh claims to be a rich banker, but is ‘unable’ to meet his financial obligations
But time passed and the bank payment didn’t come through. First there was an error in the IBAN number. Then a new order was not processed properly, according to Addeah because his bank’s head office had blocked the payment without notifying him. It was all because of the banking crisis in Ghana that things were not going so smoothly and he couldn’t help that. But in the meantime he did not want to pay for his stay in cash either, because there was a high commission on cash withdrawals and he found that too expensive. He did have money though to buy stuff, food and train tickets.
We didn’t have to worry, Addeah said, because he had been a banker in Ghana for many years, a prize-winning book writer, and the proud president of the Ghana Readers Club. Moreover, he was now CEO of his own group of agricultural companies. In Accra he lived in a large villa and he had a car with a private driver. He proudly showed us his business plan, with an annual turnover of several million US dollars. And did he mention that his father had been the director of the National Bank of Ghana and a personal friend of the President, and that he himself had close relations with the ambassador of the Netherlands in Ghana? His implicit message: ‘You can trust me, I am an important man.’ It was clear that we were dealing with a real VIP here. And that in our humble bed & breakfast!
But his reassurance had a counterproductive effect on us. It raised questions. Why does a succesful businessman who belongs to the upper class in his country try to claim the student rate with us? I had explained to him that this reduction is actually intended for students who have to live on a grant or loan. For us as a b&b there is hardly any margin on that, we offer this reduction out of social engagement. And how is it possible that a banker with experience in managing funds and who travels around the world, does not quickly and adequately fulfill his financial obligations? He knew in advance that he had to pay for an accommodation and that there is a commission on bank withdrawals. Why is this an issue for a rich man? Is what he says about the banking problems in Ghana true? Someone with his top network in the world of banking should be able to make proper arrangements to release funds. The contradictions became increasingly apparent.
Time for a hard deadline: what will Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh do?
Because, now a full month later, Addeah still hadn’t paid us and kept us on the line, we decided to charge his credit card. But that didn’t work, because it turned out to be a (prepaid) debit card. Our reservation form explicitly states that we cannot accept these type of cards, as they are not covered, but Addeah had intentionally ignored that. We confronted him with the fact that he had used a card that he knew was not valid. His answer did not convince us and we made it clear once again that he really had to pay us now, otherwise we would have to end his stay. He then suggested that he would go to Schiphol Airport to take care of his banking affairs and pay us in cash on Monday April 29 at 18:00, three days later. I told him that this really was a hard deadline for us.
That Monday at the agreed time Addeah didn’t show up. At 20:00 he came home and immediately rushed to his room. ‘Maybe he’ll freshen up first,’ my wife said. ‘He’ll come soon. African time, right? Give him half an hour.’ But Addeah didn’t come. When I went to see him, it turned out that he had not collected the money, and his attitude showed that he also had little interest in a difficult conversation about this. He did have a new excuse though: he first wanted to open a Dutch bank account, after which he would transfer the money to us.
At this point it was undeniably clear to us that he was cheating and trying to dupe us. I said, ‘Addeah, the game is over. You now pack your things together and leave.’ He realized I was serious and said: ‘I can use my bank card to withdraw a maximum of € 400 per day. Can I pay you € 400 now?’ I said: ‘Great. Why didn’t you do that in the past month? You’ve kept us on the line all this time. Then I expect you to go to the ATM right now and put that money on the table. And then you go again tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, until your bill is paid in full.’
Addeah said ‘yes’, but did ‘no’. While we were waiting with increasing irritation, he did not take any initiative to leave. When, after 45 minutes, I took a look, he was talking to someone on the phone. Although it was still light outside, he stated that suddenly it was too dark and too cold for him to walk to the ATM. As a host, one always tries to stay patient, even when guests are extremely annoying, but by now I was really angry. ‘Get your ass off that chair immediately and walk to the ATM, otherwise I will call the police to have you kicked out!’ Addeah realized he had no choice and disappeared. As a precaution, my wife had already stowed his front door key and firmly guided him outside. ‘See you soon,’ she said.
That ‘soon’ became half an hour. And then an hour. And then two hours. When my wife called him it was almost bedtime. ‘You better show up now, as I will lock the door for the night,’ she said. But Addeah didn’t show up. Or actually he did. At one o’clock in the night he suddenly stood at the door and called us out of bed. I said nothing and was silent. He looked at me and was silent too. I waited. He too. Then he said, ‘I thought you were already in bed.’ I said, ‘That’s right, and it’s a mystery to me why you stay away for four hours while the ATM is just 5 minutes away. Do you have the payment with you?’ New excuses followed. So I asked again: ‘Did you withdraw the money? You can simply answer with YES or NO.’ He said, ‘No, my bank card suddenly stopped working.’ I said, ‘Then you sleep somewhere else tonight,’ and went back inside.
Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh calls the police and ends up with the Salvation Army
But Addeah didn’t leave. The smart guy called the police himself. When the officers arrived, they immediately made it clear to him that they would not interfere. ‘This is not a matter for the police, it is civil. As you haven’t paid your bill, you have no right to stay here.’ ‘But where do I have to sleep tonight?’ Addeah moaned. ‘Why don’t you take a hotel,’ the police advised. ‘But how do I get there in the middle of the night, can’t you bring me there?’ The officer snapped back: ‘What do you think, dude? That the police operates a taxi service?’
Addeah disappeared into the night. He did not collect his belongings. On Thursday the police called. Addeah had complained at the counter of the police station that we had made him homeless. He said he had slept on a bench by the bus stop and in the university library. The police decided to refer him to the Salvation Army night shelter. They inquired whether we might still be able to sort things with him.
To be honest, we were surprised that Addeah was apparently not in a hotel. ‘Would he pretend his homelessness?’ my wife wondered. ‘I lost all trust in him.’ I also had difficulty believing his story: a so-called experienced banker who could not get access to his money for over a month? Either he is not who he says he is, or he is and is intentionally screwing us. If the homeless story is true, it is at least a good lesson in humility, honesty and learning to take responsibility.
In my work as a journalist I have regularly written about all kinds of charlatans. You have them in two types and sizes: professional scammers for whom it has become a pattern to win others over and then have them pay for their (often luxurious) lifestyle. And people who show dishonest behavior resulting from self-deception, emotional damage and/or personality problems. They lie because they cannot handle the confrontation with themselves. Addeah is (we think) in the last category. He certainly is a messed up person.
We decided to pay a visit to the Salvation Army. There we learned that Addeah had arrived with a pathetic story. We had kicked him on the street, while he considered us his own father and mother. We had made him, a VIP from Ghana, a street child. He’d been chattering in the cold on a bench by the bus stop, and almost died, had it not been for a Good Moroccan to bring him a piece of cake. He played his victim role with passion. But at the Salvation Army night shelter they are used to these types. The social worker confronted him: ‘You can demand trust, but you also have to show that you are worthy of that trust, and you do that by simply paying what you owe someone.’
Again Addeah came up with all kinds of half-hearted excuses and the promise to pay. I said: ‘Addeah, there is now an independent witness. We will email you a payment link. You say you have a rich family and an extensive business network in your country. I am sure someone is willing to pay for you with his credit card and you can settle this later. If you are really prepared to pay, you can now resolve this matter in real time.’ He agreed. But when we arrived home my wife received an e-mail from Addeah full of accusations. By refusing him in our property, we had betrayed the whole of Africa and would have to answer for that. He would call in the Ghanaian embassy. And no, he didn’t want to pay.
How Kwadwo Addeah Prempeh turned an already bad situation into something even more ugly
With his departure we were not rid of Addeah yet. The sequel is almost a story in itself, but I will briefly summarize it.
After his night at the Salvation Army, Addeah left for Wageningen to complain about us at the university’s Student Service Desk and Housing Desk. Both agencies first gave him the benefit of the doubt, but quickly realized that was a mistake. Addeah moved on to a small student house in Wageningen, where one of the residents had offered his room as a sublet on Facebook. There he played out the same scam: postponing payment of the rent, pretending ‘banking problems’, and enjoying a free ride. When his host became suspicious and pressured him to pay, he left the property overnight.
In the meantime, Addeah told us that he had spent a week with pneumonia in the local hospital because he had been forced to sleep outside. A phone call to the hospital was enough to dispel this myth.
Because Addeah also claimed that he was on good terms with Ron Strikker, the ambassador of the Netherlands to Ghana, who had granted him his visa, I sent an email to the ambassador to verify this. Strikker reacted shocked and felt embarrassed by the situation. He urged Addeah to pay his bills immediately. But Addeah refused and ignored his advice.
In the meantime, Addeah still had not collected his luggage. Three suitcases, four pillows and various supermarket bags with his clothes, toiletries, food, his Bible (for Mr. Scammer’s daily readings) and a laptop were gaining dust in our storage. When we set him an ultimatum to collect his belongings, and that we would otherwise donate them to a good cause, Addeah came up with a new trick: he suddenly claimed that he had three laptops and we’d better make sure that these were there when he would come to collect his belongings. Even now he tried to take advantage of us with a hard lie. He also insisted that his luggage should be examined by police dogs for traces of chemical contamination. He now went into full conspiracy overdrive. We insisted and demanded that he would make a fair list of the contents of his luggage and sign this upon collection. Finally on June 7, Addeah came to pick up his stuff.
On July 11, at the invitation of the police, we filed an official report against Addeah. This means that there is now a basis to prosecute him under criminal law in the Netherlands.
Now one would think that Addeah, with a possible criminal prosecution hanging over his head, would keep quiet for a while. But no, he decided to launch a website with slander and lies about us and the other people he swindled. He even abused a selfie he had made with our permission to send to his mother. He turned the whole situation around – the Wageningen students and we were the scammers, and he was the victim. This slander has also been included in the official crime report with the police. Because he also started bombarding us with offensive emails and app messages, and threatened us personally, we blocked him on all media.
Addeah has since fled the country, back to Ghana. He appears to have duped multiple people and organizations, both in his own country and abroad. It’s fair to say that Addeah was our ‘guest from hell’. We can only hope that he will not make more victims.”
The accommodation informed us that the outstanding bill including collection costs is € 2.026,40.