The Manso Nkwanta police have arrested four persons, including two teachers, believed to be members of a gang allegedly using payslips of teachers on study leave in various universities to access loans from a micro-credit company that has entered into an agreement with the Controller and Accountant-General's Department.
The suspects had, within the last six months, managed to fraudulently secure loans totalling GH¢50,000 from various branches of the company, Noble Character Enterprise, agents of City Investments Company (CIC) of Accra.
The police gave the names of the suspects as Charles Kojo Fosu, 29, a teacher of the Kasoa D/A Primary School; James Leeford Yevutse, 30, a teacher of the Agona Nyakrom D/A JHS; Kwame Nkrumah, 27, a farmer at Agona Duakwa, and Kwabena Kanin, 35, a Space-to-Space operator at Kasoa.
They were arrested at a police barrier at Antoakrom in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region just after securing another fraudulent loan facility at the company's newly opened branch at Manso Nkwanta last Thursday.
A fifth suspect, whose name was given as Joe, a former pupil teacher, escaped arrest and the police have mounted a search for him.
Their modus operandi is to secure the payslips of the teachers without their knowledge, make fake voter identity cards bearing the names of the said teachers but with their (suspects) pictures and use them to secure loans from the company's offices located at Mankessim, Ejumako, Elmina, Akim Oda and Nsawam.
At the end of every month, deductions are made from the salaries of the said teachers, while the suspects enjoyed their booty.
On their arrest, the Manso Nkwanta Police were informed by their colleagues at Mankessim that the suspects had been arrested for a similar offence at Mankessim and were due to appear before a court in Saltpond yesterday.
The Amansie District Police Commander, DSP Isaac Kwadwo Asante, said his outfit would team up with the Mankessim Police to go into the matter in order to establish how the suspects managed to get the payslips of the teachers.
He said about 1.00.p.m. on April 10, 2008, the suspects, using a taxi allegedly hired from the Central Region, had gone to the Noble Character Enterprise office at Manso Nkwanta where they produced applications for loan facilities covering GH¢37, GH¢28 and GH¢500.
DSP Asante said the first two applications of GH¢37 and GH¢28 went through but the Amansie Rural Bank Limited, where they cashed the cheques, did not have enough money for the payment of the GH¢500 loan and they were, therefore, asked to come the following day.
He said the Assistant Manager of Noble Character at Manso Nkwanta, Ms Christiana Amoah, who had written the cheques, later detected that the voter identity cards attached to the loan applications were fictitious and consequently rushed to inform the police.
DSP Asante indicated that the suspects had then left in the taxi and the police quickly telephoned their Antoakrom station to arrest the taxi and its occupants.
According to him, when the taxi got to the Antoakrom Barrier, the four were arrested, but the fifth person escaped through the bush.
The suspects have since appeared before a court at Asante Bekwai where they were remanded in prison custody to appear again a forth night's time.
Officials of Noble Character Enterprise told the Daily Graphic that the activities of the suspects had nearly crippled operations of the company and commended the police for their efforts at arresting them.