Five top officials of the Akuapem South District Assembly in the Eastern Region have been arrested for allegedly stealing ¢600 million of the district's share of the HIPC Funds.
The amount was reported stolen from the district assembly's amount of about ¢1 billion which was given to each district assembly last year for development projects.
Robert Akrofi, 49, District Finance Officer, Fred Owusu Akowuah, 41, District Budget Officer, Alfred Lumor, 38, District Planning Officer, Francis Apenteng, 37, Quantity Surveyor, and Seth Setordjie, 54, External Auditor, were yesterday remanded in custody till December 19, 2005 for further investigations.
Two others, whose names were not disclosed for security reasons, are on the run.A source close to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) told the Daily Graphic yesterday that Akrofi had admitted the offence and had promised to refund ¢100 million which he allegedly claimed to be his share.
The source said the five connived to prepare certificates of payment for some non-existing contractors to be paid for allegedly undertaking some jobs for the district assembly.
It said Apenteng allegedly prepared the certificates while Akrofi was said to have forged financial records to facilitate the execution of the offence.
It said the incident took place somewhere in the middle of last year and added that there could be other crimes. A number of civil servants, mainly from the Controller and Accountant-General's Department (CAGD) have been busted in the last couple of months for making illegal money transfer of government funds into their personal accounts.
The accused in those transactions are Jangay Benjamin Doku, head of Payroll Processing Unit, Philip Seffah Kissi, head of Deposits of the Final Accounts Unit and Peter Ntim, Audit and Investigations Unit and two others, Juliet Seffah Kissi and Theresa Osae Doku, wives of Kissi and Doku.
The others are Nicholas Sakyi and his deputy, Joseph Kofi Yeboah, who were attached to to the Department of Urban Roads in Kumasi, who were alleged to have committed the offence between June 2002 and April 2004.
All the suspects in those cases have been granted bail by the various courts at which there were arraigned.
Story by Albert K. Salia