9 Lands Commission staff, 7 others busted for stealing commissions GHC100 million
National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) officials have reportedly arrested 16 people involved in stealing about 500 draft cheques meant for the Land Commission of Ghana.
According to a news report by the Daily Guide newspaper, the 16 suspects were part of a 21-member syndicate involved in stealing cheques worth around GHC 100 million belonging to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The report indicated that the suspects were arrested between January 2023 and February 2023 after a petition was filed against them for crimes they committed from 2021 to 2023.
It added that all the suspects were charged with three counts, including conspiracy to commit crime, stealing, and money laundering, contrary to Sections 23(1) and 124(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and Section 1 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 (Act 1044), stealing contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act (29) and Money Laundering: Contrary to Section 1 of Anti-money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044).
It was stated in the report that the suspects included Frederick Okai, Gideon Obeng Mensah, Andrews Tettey Antwi, Frank Kwame Darko, Jude Odoom Yamoah, Emmanuel Mawuli Bani, and Jephther Sanso Akyea, all staff of the commission.
The remaining suspects are Gilbert Fongadje Awuvie, Isaac Karikari Junior alias Bonsu, Sani Mohammed Issah, David Maanyin Antoh, Kofi Armoo Okyne, Samson Sebrah, Frank Debrah alias Franko, Emmanuel Ketigoa, and Nutifafa Asare Kojo.
It added that five of the suspects, including Alfred Amarquaye, Jason Hassan Degalu, Mary Kish Bagbodjan, Leslie Bruce, and Adams, escaped arrest and are currently at large.
It was stated in the report that the nine suspects, who were staff of the Land Commission, conspired with the other suspects, including private businessmen, a banker with First National Bank, the Chief Executive Officer of the Air State Company Limited and a staff at the Tema Development Company Limited to commit the crime.
The suspects, according to sources at the NIB, paid draft cheques ranging from GHC 20,000 to GHC 2,500,000 to the other accomplices at the Lands Commission rather than paying them to the commission, thereby denying the GRA the much-needed revenue.
They agreed and were able to manipulate the software of the Lands Commission to show that the said payments were made to the commission, but that did not happen.
“The draft cheques were thereafter handed over to Emmanuel Ketigo through Samson Debrah and Frank Debrah, who took the cheques to clearing agents at the Tema Harbour, wherefore the said cheques were used to pay import duties for importers.
“Thereafter, Emmanuel Ketigo received physical cash of the face value of the cheques, and the monies were shared among themselves based in percentage, with Emmanuel taking 15 percent of the face of the cheques, the first-nine suspects taking 40-45 percent whilst the remaining 40-45 per cent were shared among the remaining suspects,” a source is quoted to have said by the Daily Guide.
The suspect told the NIB that they used the proceeds from their criminal venture to buy houses and other properties in Greater Accra, the Eastern and Central Regions.
It added that suspects are still in the custody of the NIB, having failed to meet their GHC 2 million bail terms.