District Finance Officer To Be Tried For Fraud

chief-justice-georgina-woodA former District Finance Officer of the Talensi-Nabdam District,  who allegedly duped the assembly of GH¢35 million, is to be put before a Bolgatanga High Court soon.

The officer, Mr. Thomas Awuianas Akazabre, is alleged to have fraudulently issued cheques, using a forged signature of the District Co-ordinating Director, Mr. Fuseini Alhassan.

He was said to have committed the offence between April, 2011 and June 2012. These came to light when The Ghanaian Times interviewed the District Co-ordinating Director. Mr. Alhassan’s signature was forged to perpetuate the crime, which enabled the suspect to withdraw the money from the assembly’s accounts with the Bolgatanga branch of the National Investment Bank (NIB).

According to him the Assembly operates four accounts with  the NIB which are the District Assembly Common Fund, District Wide Assistance Programme (DWAP), the Disabled Fund and Donor Funds.

He indicated that at a point in 2012 he realised that the District Finance Officer (DFO) became reluctant in paying out cheques issued by the Assembly to contractors who had completed the execution of their projects, though he was aware that the Assembly had enough funds in all its accounts.

This suspicion led him to go to the Bank personally to cross-check, following the apparent failure of the DFO to provide him with official bank statements for the various accounts. The former District Chief Executive, Ms. Viviav Ananfo confirmed that despite several demands he made to the DFO to produce bank statements, he failed to do so.

Consequently he ordered for an audit of the assembly’s Accounts from April 2011 to June, 2012 and the outcome revealed that a total of GH¢35 million could not be accounted for. He was subsequently handed over to the police.

The report indicated that the accountant had been forging the signature of the District Co-ordinating Director, Mr. Alhassan to perpetuate the fraud.

According to the Co-ordinating Director, when Mr. Akazabre was confronted in July 2012 he admitted the offence and pleaded to be given time to refund the amount.

However, he had so far refunded only GH¢600 and the new District Chief Executive, Mr. Edward Awunore had no alternative than to request for him to be prosecuted after vainless attempts to get him to make good the amount. – A. A. Mbord, Tongo

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