Fuseini Hamza, a 41-year-old cashier at the Small Tax Office (STO) of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in Tamale, has appeared before a Tamale High Court for allegedly stealing an amount of GH¢2,043,774.30 belonging to the state.
He was charged with two counts of stealing, contrary to Section 124(1) of Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), and money laundering, contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) as amended by Act 874.
Justice Edward Apenkwah, supervising high court judge in Tamale, remanded the accused in prison custody after he pleaded not guilty when he first appeared before the court on October 25, 2017.
The accused was granted bail on November 1, 2017 to the sum of GH¢500,000 with two sureties to be justified and to deposit an amount of GH¢50,000 cash, a condition which the accused could not meet and he went back to prison custody and reappeared on November 29, 2017, where he was granted bail after the bail condition was varied to GH¢25,000.
Salia Abdul-Quddus, Principal State Attorney, Northern Region, who led the prosecution, said in June 2017, while the accountant of GRA STO Tamale, during reconciliation of accounts of the STO, detected that some amount of money, which was supposed to have been lodged at the bank for the month of May, 2017, had not been lodged into the GRA account.
Mr Abdul-Quddus said the accountant went to the bank to enquire about the account, and the bank responded that there was a system delay, which accounted for a little over GH¢70,000 not credited into the GRA account.
He said the money was subsequently credited to the GRA account, adding when this was brought to the attention of the GRA STO Manager in Tamale, Mr Cephas Agoro, he requested for a reconciliation of the GRA account between January and April 2017 to ascertain whether the June problem was not an isolated case.
Mr Abdul-Quddus said when the reconciliation was done between January and April, 2017, it was discovered that an amount of GH¢310,909.96, which the accused was supposed to lodge at the bank and for which he had submitted duly stamped paid in bank slips, had not been credited to the GRA account.
He said armed with this information, the Head of STO went to the bank with the accused and the accountant, where they confronted the bank manager, who asked for time to cross-check.
He said the complainant left the accused with them to cross-check and later the bank manager called the complainant to say that they could not reconcile the figures, and added that the accused admitted that he had not lodged the money into the account.
Mr Abdul-Quddus said the complainant then reported the matter to his superiors, who sent an auditor from Accra, who uncovered that an amount of GH¢2,043,774.30 had not been credited to the account even though the accused presented paid-in bank slips of payment into the account.