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19.10.2005 General News

Another Scandal Exposed

By Graphic
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A 48-year-Old accountant has become the fifth casualty in the ongoing clampdown on corruption and stealing within the Controller and Accountant-General's Department.

Nicholas Sakyi,an assistant chief accounts officer attached to the Department of Urban Roads in Kumasi, was grabbed for conniving with two officials of the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank to steal ¢702.1 million in the name of some contractors.

The Controller and Accountant-General,Mr Christian Tetteh Sottie,who launched the current onslaught on fraudulent practices within the department upon his appointment three months ago,confirmed the latest catch in an interview with the Graphic yesterday.

He mentioned Sakyi's accomplices as Kingsley Owusu Ansah and Joseph Appiah,both of the bank,and said they executed the deal between May and June 2005.

Preliminary investigations by the Bureau of National Investigations(BNI)revealed that contracts were awarded by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly Urban Roads Department towards a general facelift of the Kumasi township.

Subsequently,¢702.1 million was paid to some contractors in respect of gravels supplied and drainage works to be executed.

Nicholas Sakyi then raised the vouchers to cover payments to the companies which supplied gravels or undertook the drainage works in the Kumasi metropolis.

However,instead of the cheques purportedly being paid into the accounts of the companies,they were paid into the accounts of Owusu-Ansah and Appiah.

The Controller and Accountant-General mentioned some of the companies in whose names payment vouchers were raised as Gyamco and Sons Limited, ¢61.8 million; Matania Co. Ltd, ¢51.5 million; Yawa Construction Ltd, ¢61.8 million; Concourse Gh. Ltd, ¢51.5 million; Philidonia Ventures, ¢61.8 million; Aboukina Ltd, ¢43 million; Younice Enterprise, ¢51.2 million, and Soapem Ltd, ¢30 million.

Mr Sottie said the payment of a company's cheque into an individual's account was a serious irregularity in banking practice.

He said the BNI had suggested that the management of the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank should be held directly responsible for that irregularity,adding that “the illegal transfers could not have materialised without the connivance of the bank's management”.

According to the Controller and Accountant-General,a team had been selected from his department to join investigators who would be visiting Urban Roads,Kumasi, and the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank to conduct indepth examination into the financial records of the two institutions.

He said the investigations would enable the team to ascertain the suspects' method of operation.The visit would also enable the team to ascertain whether or not the cheques were actucally written in the names of the companies or in the names of the two bank officials,as well as determine whether the jobs were executed or not.

Sakyi has since been arraigned and remanded to reappear on October 20,2005.Owusu-Ansah and Appiah are said to be on suspension for reasons yet to be unravelled by the BNI

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