Commercial banks have warned the public against the gradual increase in cheque fraud.
“Cheque fraudsters are hardworking and creative as their mode of operations includes issuing cheques with the intent of defrauding the drawer when there are no funds in account,” Dr. David Apenteng-Takyiakom, a manager of one of the banks the Ghana News Agency (GNA), interviewed, said in Accra.
He explained that most of the cheque fraudsters mainly used cross-cheques, saying, “They normally will open the cheque and endorse the back but will strategically fail to sign the face authorisation portion. The strategy is to deceive the drawer and subsequently disappear”.
Dr. Apenteng-Takyiako, therefore, urged the public to scrutinise cheques they receive irrespective of the issuers’ social, religious or political status to avoid being defrauded.
He explained that it was a criminal offence to dishonestly issue a cheque towards the re-payment of a loan or in fulfillment of an obligation, which was dishonoured on presentation.
He said as the banking sector developed there was an urgent need to introduce new laws in the field of banking, in general, and with regard to the treatment of a “bank cheque”, in particular, keeping in view the frequency of events of dishonouring of bank cheques.
Dr. Apenteng-Takyiako advised the public to report to the Police anyone who would issue a dishonest cheque, saying, “It is a criminal offence and the law must deal with the fraudster”.
The country’s financial sector reportedly lost of ¢3 billion within the first quarter of 2002 due to cheque fraud, according to the Head of Commercial Crime Unit of the Ghana Police Service, at the time.
Last month, the Head of the Management Information Systems (MIS) and Clearing House Operations at the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Limited, Mr. Isaac Kofi Amoah, tasked the banks to put control measures in place to stop or minimise the illegal practice, which he said was still rife.