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01.11.2005 General News

Accountant-General’s Dept Again - ¢2 Billion Missing

By Graphic
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The Controller and Accountant-General's Department has been hit by another ¢2.2 billion scandal involving Nicholas Sakyi, who was busted earlier for his alleged involvement in a ¢702.1 million case.

Sakyi, who is attached to the Department of Urban Roads in Kumasi, was grabbed a fortnight ago for conniving with two officials of the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank to steal ¢702.1 million in the name of some contractors.

He is in the news again this week for allegedly conniving with his deputy, Joseph Kofi Yeboah, to steal ¢2,242,202,816.

Yeboah became the sixth culprit in the ongoing clampdown on corruption and stealing within the Controller and Accountant-General's Department after he was arrested last Thursday, October 28,2005 in Kumasi.

He was remanded in custody yesterday for two weeks pending further investigations into the case.

A source at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI)told the Graphic yesterday that as a follow up to the earlier scandal involving Sakyi last week,personnel of the BNI discovered, to their chagrin,that Sakyi and Yeboah had been altering cheques meant for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)as withholding taxes and monies meant for contractors.

It explained that after the metro engineer had signed cheques representing the withholding taxes of companies to be paid to the IRS, Sakyi would then instruct Yeboah to alter the IRS on the cheques to T.R. Services Ltd.

It said when that was done,the cheque,which then appeared in the name of TR Services Ltd,a non-existent company,would be paid into the account of SNICKS Ventures Limited Incorporated by Sakyi at the Bantama Branch of the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank.

The source said the transactions were done with the assistance of some officials of the bank.It said the ¢2.2 billion represented monies transferred into the account between December 2004 and July this year.

The source said Sakyi had withdrawn all the money he paid into the account and allegedly shared it with Yeboah. “Effectively, no money had been paid to the IRS from the Department of Urban Roads since December 2004,” it said.

The source said investigations had so far revealed that the accountant and his deputy were keeping poor records, since not all financial transactions were written in the cash books, while some of the cheque leaves and studs had also been torn and lost.

It said investigations had also revealed that Sakyi was advancing loans to some of the contractors to enable them to execute contracts awarded to them.

It said in such cases,Sakyi would pay money due such contractors into the accounts of SNICKS Ventures and subsequently deduct the amount advanced as loans with interest on it.