Three persons are in the custody of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for allegedly trying to cash GHS3.5 million from a bank account belonging to the Ministry of Energy and being managed by the National Investment Bank (NIB).
The three, including the Managing Director of Guma Oil and a worker of NIB, are alleged to have cloned the Energy Ministry’s cheque and attempted depositing same into the account of Guma Oil at Zenith Bank.
According to the facts of the case, the cheque was never withdrawn and the Ministry had no contract with the suspects involved.
Speaking to Citi News on behalf of the Executive Director of EOCO, the Deputy Executive Director of Operations, Nana Antwi indicated that his outfit is on a manhunt for another suspect while the dockets are being finalised for prosecution.
Narrating the circumstances that led to the arrest, Mr. Antwi stated that, “Initially, it was felt that some persons within the Ministry [of Energy] had attempted to steal money belonging to the Ministry. The suspicions were narrowed to the accounts department so there was a swoop on the department where various personalities were questioned. It was there that it came up that the internal mechanism had identified an attempt and had even made a report to the Ministry’s police station and that some investigation had already commenced. That notwithstanding, we pushed on and spread our tentacles of investigation where we contacted Zenith and NIB and then the tracing started [leading to the arrests]”.
He added that “our dockets are almost ready. Very soon, they’ll be sent to court after the legal department has reviewed the dockets and appropriate charges are levelled against the persons.”
Statistics from the Bank of Ghana in 2018 indicates that fraud cases in the banking industry increased from 1,002 cases in 2016 to 1,418 cases in 2017.
In total, Ghana lost GhS30.1 million to bank fraud in 2017 alone.
The banking industry continues to face the issue of fraud, with the Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service receiving several complaints of similar attacks against a number of banks in the country in 2020 alone.
Last month, the Daily Graphic reported that six persons were arrested for allegedly hacking a bank in Accra, leading to the illegal transfer of GHS46 million into accounts of eight persons in different banks.
According to the newspaper, a former banker and owner of Adom Sika Savings and Loans Limited, Sam Acquah, and a web developer, James Taylor, were the masterminds of the crime and were picked up by the police.
The others, Hudu Abdul Mumuni, Emmanuel Adams, Moro Issah and Agbenu Febous Chrissy, were arrested when they showed up at the various banks to withdraw the money transferred into their accounts through the illegal transaction.