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14.10.2002 General News

Ga Assembly Officials Embezzle ¢823m in 3 Months

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TWO officials of the Ga District Assembly have been arrested for allegedly embezzling ¢823.7 million within a three-month period.

Messrs Kwasi Marfo, the District Co-ordinating Director, and S. Asazoah, District Finance Officer, defrauded the assembly between October 1 to December 1, last year.

A Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh (retd), who disclosed this in an interview in Accra at the weekend, said the two are currently helping the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service in investigations into the matter.

He said the activities of the two suspects came to light when the Audit Service conducted an audit into the accounts of the Ga District Assembly from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2001.

Following the audit report, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development appointed an internal five-man team led by Mr G.P. Anane, the Director of Policy Planning and Management at the ministry, to study the findings of the audit report and make recommendations. “Among the findings, the two suspects expended ¢823.7 million without the approval of the district assembly and it was also established that they embezzled the money within three months,” Capt. Effah-Darteh stated. He said the committee, therefore, recommended that the two be handed over to the police for prosecution.

“The government after a careful study of the audit report and the committee’s findings and recommendations ordered the arrest of the two last Friday after a meeting of some officials of this ministry,” the deputy minister said.

Asked how the two suspects managed to embezzle the money without notice, he further said that the suspects spent the money at the time when the District Chief Executive, Mr S.N Attoh was preparing to assume office. According to the Deputy Minister, the two gave conflicting statements when they were queried.

He said they initially admitted taking ¢131 million in a letter but subsequently denied their claim verbally. The deputy minister advised public office holders to desist from acts that impede national development otherwise they will derail the process of the decentralisation programme. He, therefore, warned that no one will be spared if caught misappropriating public funds . The Graphic earlier this year, published on its front page the contents of an investigative report which cited the two officials as being implicated in financial malpractices running into hundreds of millions of cedis.

The two officials subsequently denied the report and described the publication as false and mischievous and subsequently passed a resolution summoning the reporter to appear before the assembly to answer questions about the report.

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