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Couple Gets 25-Years Each For Stealing Church Money   
 
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01-Nov-2011  
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The Fast Track High Court, Financial Division on Monday sentenced a couple to 25-years imprisonment each for stealing GH713,896 deposited at the Ring Road Central branch of Ecobank Ghana Limited.

Linda Edzidor a staff of the bank and Joshua Edzidor a contractor, are to refund the monies stolen from the accounts of the Church of Pentecost (COP) headquarters branch, the Church of Pentecost La branch and Teacher Funds Service Limited.

Additionally, the court presided over by Mr Justice Bright Mensah ordered that the four vehicles bought by the couple which were impounded by the Police and parcels of land bought by them at Pokuase for real estate be given to the bank.

Earlier before the court, Linda pleaded not guilty to 94 counts of stealing whiles her husband, Joshua also denied three counts of abetment of crime and one count of dishonestly receiving funds.

Delivering its judgment, the court said the Prosecution led by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a Principal State Attorney (PSA) had been able to establish a case against the couple after calling six witnesses.

The court said Linda who worked with the bank for four years and earned GH450 a month could not raise the amount whiles working on that salary and purchase the vehicles and parcels of land for real estate development.

It noted that during the trial, Joshua told the court that he had asked for financial assistance from Linda and she agreed to support him financially. This, the court said, Linda did for her husband by misappropriating monies paid by the three institutions to the bank between May 2010 and October 2010.

According to the court, Linda used several names such as Quansah and Stephen among others in order to pay monies into the account of Strong Foundation Limited which was owned by Joshua.

It noted that Linda paid monies ranging from GH800 cedis to 9,000 cedis into Strong Foundation Limited account which was also opened at the Ecobank.

The court noted Joshuas acceptance to an undertaking on Oct 31, 2010 to refund the money and admitted that he (Joshua) abetted to the crime. It further rejected claims by the couple that they were subjected to undue pressure to write statements to the Police adding that the undertaking put in by Joshua to the bank attested that they were not pressurized to give statements to the Police.

Before handing the down the various sentences, Mrs Keelson reminded the court that with the charges preferred against the couple they must bear the same punishment.

Mr J.K Yeboah, counsel for the couple pleaded with the court to allow one of the couple not suffer incarceration so one can take of their children aged two and four.

Mr Yeboah prayed the court to have mercy on the couple and consider their children before handing down the sentence.

The case of the prosecution was that the complainant was the Ecobank Ghana Limited. Between May 2010 and October 2010, the bank received several complaints from its customers about some strange withdrawals from their accounts.

Those customers included the Church of Pentecost (COP) headquarters and La, branch and the Teachers Fund Service Limited.

The bank therefore launched investigations into the matter and it was detected that Linda debited the accounts of the monies paid by the three institutions. In all, the bank detected that Linda had misappropriated monies totaling GH 713, 896 cedis belonging to the three institutions.

The bank therefore paid the amount involved with interest to the institutions and handed over Linda and Joshua to the Police.
 
 
Source: GNA
 
 

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