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22.05.2007 Crime & Punishment

¢2bn Fraud • Ex-CDH Employee Before Court

A former employee of the Consolidated Discount House (CDH), a fund management company, has appeared before an Accra circuit court for allegedly defrauding Gemini Life Insurance Company (GLICO) of ¢2.057 billion and also operating a financial institution without licence from the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

The accused person, Samuel Ralph Kwame Asamoah, 52, was alleged to have used his position as a schedule officer at CDH to divert GLICO's investment into his private company, Newland Trust and Consultancy Ltd, of which he is the Managing Director.

He pleaded not guilty to two counts of operating a banking business without licence and defrauding by false pretences.

Asamoah has been granted bail in the sum of ¢2 billion with a surety and asked to reappear on June 14, 2007.

Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) George Abavelim told the court that the complainant, who is the managing director of GLICO, in September 1996 began to invest money with CDH.

He said from time to time the complainant invested funds with CDH and the accused person was the schedule officer for his investment.

ASP Abavelim said CDH provided the complainant with bi-annual and annual returns on the investment until the last quarter of 1998 when he wanted to withdraw part of the investment.

He said the complainant realised that his investment had reduced considerably and on enquiry from CDH, it was detected that the accused person had used his position to transfer ¢2,057,711,128 into his own private accounts.

The prosecutor said the accused person confessed and explained that he had opened a new company, Newland Trust Consultancy Ltd, into which the money had been transferred.

He said the complainant wanted to get his money back but the accused person could not make it available, explaining that it was during investigations that it was realised that Newland Trust had not been given licence by the BoG to operate.

According to ASP Abavelim, the accused person later issued a cheque for ¢1.1 billion to the complainant but he stopped the payment before the cheque was due.

Story by Stephen Sah