Five senior staff members of the Judicial Service in Accra and Ho were yesterday put before an Accra Circuit Court charged with stealing GH˘308,315.76 from two accounts of the service in the Volta Region.
The five, who pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and stealing, were granted bail by the court. Eric Atsu Amegbe, Volta Regional Accountant, Samuel Dzeble, Internal Auditor at Ho, Issah Abdulai, Director of Finance, Prosper Adjeti, Deputy Director of Finance and Victor Kofiakuma Tenu, Volta Regional Registrar, now on retirement, were said to have inserted ‘ghost’ names onto the allowance payment vouchers of staff.
The court, presided over by Mrs. Bartels Cudjoe, granted Amegbe, Dzeble, Abdulai, and Adjeti bail in the sum of GH˘500,000 with three sureties, while Tenu was admitted to a GH˘100,000-bail. They are to appear again on March 4.
Prosecuting, DSP P.K. Frimpong told the court that the Judicial Service operates two different accounts, namely Subvention and Deposit accounts. He mentioned Amegbe, Dzeble and Tenu as the signatories to the Volta Regional Subvention account, while Amegbe and Tenu are the signatories to the region’s deposit account.
According to the prosecution, sometime ago, Amegbe and Abdulai hatched a plan to steal from the accounts and consequently inserted ghost names into the allowance payment vouchers for the region.
They inflated total amounts due as payment for allowances, and other expenses for the region, as well as duplicated allowance payment vouchers for the region to enable corresponding duplicated amounts to be paid to the regional accounts.
The prosecution said Amegbe was the one who implemented the plan with the insertion of the ghost names and inflated the figures for the region. Touching on how Amegbe came by the ghost names, DSP Frimpong said Amegbe used first, middle and surnames of existing staff of the Service interchangeably, to represent different staff in the region, which he categorized into Volta South, Central and North.
According to the prosecution, he forged staff identity members for the ghost names created, and “allowances due these non-existing staff were tripled and in some cases, quadrupled.”
Dzeble, whose duty was to pre-audit the regional vouchers, applied his stamp and signature to validate the vouchers with ghost names, the prosecution said. DSP Frimpong said that Abdulai on receipt of these vouchers passed them as genuine and processed payment to the regional subvention account, adding, “the excess monies paid into the account was withdrawn and shared among themselves.
Source: The Ghanaian Times/Ghana
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