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General News Sat, 13 Jan 2007

Ghana Embassy Staff jailed

AN ACCOUNTING OFFICER at the Ghana Embassy in La Cote d’Ivoire has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in hard labour by an Accra Circuit Court for embezzling state funds.

The accused person, Humphrey Anyomi, reported to have stolen 57,307 million CFA Francs from the coffers of the state, pleaded guilty with explanation but his explanation, considered flimsy, was rejected by the court.

He was consequently convicted on his own plea and sentenced to six years.

In his explanation, the accused person told the court he did not steal the money and only borrowed from the coffers to promote the good image of the nation.

According to him, Ivoreans had no respect for Ghanaians, so he used the money to entertain them, to make them respect Ghanaians.

He further told the court that to partake in the new economic policy of President Kufuor which demanded that diplomats embarked on new programmes that would benefit the nation, he used about ¢1billion to produce a musical album to the benefit of Ghanaians, though he was yet to hand the project over to the Government.

However, the court rejected his explanation on the grounds that being a junior worker at the ministry; he could not have, on his own accord, used state money for projects even if he felt they could help the nation.

The trial Judge, Justice Frank Manu noted that the need to redeem Ghana’s image in Cote d’Ivoire was not a suggestion that foreign diplomats used the money allocated to them for unauthorized purposes.

The story, as presented by the prosecuting officer, DSP J.K. Abraham, was that the accused person served in the Ghana Mission in Cote d’Ivoire from 2001 to 2005, and between March 5, 2004 and August 31, 2006, the mission detected that he had embezzled an amount of 37 million CFA Francs.

The accused person, according to the prosecution, returned to Ghana and after a duty tour, reported at the headquarters, but apparently realising the discovery by the ministry, failed to resume work and rather went into hiding.

Recounting how the ministry detected the theft, DSP Abraham told the court that in March 2006, a team of auditors from the Audit Service proceeded to Abidjan and after auditing the accused person’s accounting books, detected a loss of 57,305 million CFA Francs.

After several months’ search for him, he was arrested by the police on November 28, 2006.

During investigations, he disputed the amount given by the auditors, but said he had borrowed 37million CFA from the mission’s accounts.

Source: Daily Guide