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General News Fri, 22 May 2009

Massive Fraud At Varsity

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has begun investigation into allegations that students of the University of Education, Winneba, have, with the connivance of some officials at the Accountant General’s Department and the office of the Ghana National Association of Teachers on Campus (GNATOC), been stealing pay slips of their colleague students, including those who have died, to secure huge bank loans, sometimes amounting to GH¢10,000.

The Chronicle investigations established that the students, who are involved in these fraudulent activities, would, upon hearing of the death of their colleague student, rush to their partners at the Controller and Accountant General’s Department in Cape Coast, to find out if the university authorities had officially informed them about the death. When they respond in the negative, they would then connive with them to secure his pay slips, fix fake passport pictures on documents, and use it to secure bank loans.

By the time the AG’s Department is informed about the death, the fraudsters would have absconded with the money, they had secured from the bank. The paper gathered that besides the names of deceased students being used to secure loans, some students who are alive have also fallen victim to the activities of the syndicate. The activities of the syndicate became bare when the family of one Isaac Ofosu, who is a student, but now deceased, went to the AG’s Department to sign documents for the release of the benefits of their family member.

Though Owusu died in 2007, the A-G’s Department was not informed, thus making it possible for the syndicate to secure his pay slips, and use them to secure GH¢10,000 loans from loan seven financial companies - Marlock Ventures Ltd, Utrak Financial Services Ltd, Jusk Ventures, KA-DAK Ent. Ltd, Erifakos Ventures, Staba Investment Ltd, and Anicado Farms and Trading Company.

Some of the financial companies The Chronicle spoke to expressed surprise upon hearing that Isaac had died two years ago, since they had recently granted the loans to the perpetrators of the fraud who were carrying the purported ID cards of the deceased for the dubious deals. The Chronicle undercover investigations at the Winneba University revealed that when Isaac Ofusu died, his family duly notified the school authorities. His family and the members of his Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church on campus were duly represented at the funeral. According to his brother, Mr. David Otchere, he was processing the Letters of Administration of Isaac when he received a call from the President of the SDA on campus, Mr. Richard Ofori, to see him urgently for some important information.

He said, when he met Mr. Ofori, he handed him three pay slips of his deceased brother, which indicated that GH¢4,700 had been deducted from the salary of his brother a few months after his death, and when he contacted the Accountant General’s Department for enquiry, he was told the amount had indeed been debited to the accounts of the deceased. “We didn’t even know he was still being paid, because as far as we the family was concerned, we informed the school authorities, so they should have informed all the necessary departments to stop paying his salary,” he told The Chronicle.

The Chairman of GNATOC, Mr. Amoah, confirmed to The Chronicle that the fraud was going on campus. “It’s a fact; it is a problem we are facing here on campus,” he said. According to him, before he took over office the problem was there, but had gotten to its peak currently.

“When I came into office, I tried to introduce the system of ID cards before one could take his pay slip from our office, yet still people are able to steal the pay slips of other students. The funny thing is that students are able to go for their pay slips from the Accountant General’s Department before it gets to the school, so before the slips come to the school they are scattered,” he stressed. He said they would use Ofosu’s case to get to the bottom of the fraud, and arrest those behind it.

Source: The Chronicle