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Court Registrar Charged For Stealing
 
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12-Jul-2011  
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FIVE EMPLOYEES of the Judicial Service have been hauled before an Accra Circuit court for allegedly stealing GH¢72,091.95 belonging to the service.

The five officers including a court registrar allegedly conspired and created ghost names in the staff list at the Sunyani branch. They allotted sums of money as allowance due these fake staff, then withdrew the profits and shared it among themselves.

The accused persons allegedly started the operation somewhere in January 2006 until their activities were discovered in July 31, 2009.

They are Edward Kwadwo Ntiamoah, Regional Accountant, Joseph Adjei Ankamu, Regional Auditor, Joseph Tawiah, the Regional Court Registrar, Issah Abdulai and Prosper Adeti, Deputy Director of Finance and the Director of Finance at the Judicial Service Head Office, Accra respectively.

However, only Ankamu and Tawiah were in court yesterday when the case was called. No reasons were given as to why the others were absent. The two pleaded not guilty at the court presided over by Mrs. Patience Mills-Tetteh and they were granted GH¢100,000 bail with two sureties to re-appear on July 25, 2011, after their lawyer had prayed the court for bail.

The prosecutor, ASP Abraham A. Annor, disclosed that in October 2009, the Judicial Secretary set up a special audit team to investigate Judicial Service Accounts maintained in the regions.

He said in the Brong Ahafo Region, the Special Audit Team detected, after its investigation, that between January 1, 2006 and July 31, 2009, a total of GH¢72,091.95 belonging to the Judicial Service was stolen through the various methods.

The amount, according to the prosecutor, was made of GH¢19,731.33 being overstated allowances, and GH¢19,809.69 being cash withdrawn from the Subvention Account of the Service by Ntiamoah without any reason.

Ntiamoah allegedly stole GH¢3,133.48, being fictitious payments.

In addition, Ntiamoah and Tawiah, with the connivance of Ankamu, allegedly withdrew GH¢9,939.60 from the Deposit Account.

Another GH¢19,479.85 represented monies withdrawn by Ntiamoah and Tawiah from the Service Account but with no evidence of how it was used.

The prosecutor said Ankamu, during the investigation, admitted to the offences and stated that it was a deal agreed upon by all of them and that monies realized from the deal was shared among themselves.

Further investigations conducted by the police, according to the prosecutor, revealed that Ntiamoah made some payments into the personal account of Abdulai and Adeti.

The prosecutor, explaining the modus operandi of the accused persons, disclosed that investigations conducted over the years had revealed that some officers of the Judicial Service, particularly those in the Accounts Department, connived and devised various methods of stealing monies meant for staff remuneration and other administrative expenses of the service.

One of the methods of operation was for the Regional Accountants to collaborate with the Regional Auditors and the Regional Administrators by creating “Ghost Names” in the staff lists of the regions, and then they would allocate sums of monies as allowances due these staff members.

He continued by saying that the Regional Auditor would then endorse these names as genuine staff members and same would be forwarded to the Head Office where, with collaboration from the Director of Finance and his deputy at the Head Office, these funds would be paid into the Regions’ Subvention Account.

The Regional Accountants would then withdraw the monies and share with all players in the conspiracy.

Sometimes, genuine names staff members of the service would be used interchangeably by the Regional Accountants to prepare the allowances but figures of these allowances would either be increased or doubled.

These vouchers would be approved by the auditors and forwarded to the head office. The monies would once again be forwarded by the collaborators from the head office into the account which will be withdrawn and shared.

The service, he added, also maintains a deposit account which is used exclusively to hold monies paid by litigant and held in trust for them. Although withdrawal from this account must be supported by an order of a court with a reference case number for the judgment creditor, the collaborators, due to long periods of litigation, fraudulently withdraw these monies without any supporting documents.

ASP Annor however said investigations are still on-going.
 
 
 
 
 

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