|The Pension fraud suspects going to court in Accra|
Investigations are underway to uncover how nearly GH¢600,000 was allegedly paid fraudulently to fictitious pensioners within one year.
Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) officers who have so far picked up three persons are investigating how widespread the said pension fraud is.
One person is on the run while eight others are being investigated for aiding in the loss of almost GH¢600,000 to the state.
In the course of the investigations, BNI officials succeeded in picking up two persons who attempted to withdraw GH¢77,000 from the High Street branch of Stanchart.
A highly placed BNI source told the Daily Graphic that “there is a cartel in pension sham operations. We are closing in on them to protect the state coffers. Our investigations so far have pointed to the fact that nearly GH¢600,000 has been paid to undeserving pensioners in one year alone,” the source disclosed.
According to the source, an official of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), Sonnie Eric Adinyira, who is currently on secondment to the office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as a Treasurer, has been picked up together with Mawufemor Wugah and Godwin Amegbe, an official of the Pensions Division of the CAGD.
A fourth suspect, Kennedy Antwi, is currently on the run but the BNI source said “we are doing everything possible to pick him up to assist in investigations.”
According to the source, the arrests had nothing to do with operations at the CHRAJ.
Evidence so far
According to the facts gathered so far, Adinyira allegedly contacted his schoolmate, Kennedy Antwi, to get someone to open an account into which the siphoned pension funds would be lodged.
Antwi succeeded in convincing Wugah, a cousin of his, to open an account at the High Street branch of Stanchart to receive the said GH¢77,000.
Wugah was said to have gone to the High Street branch of Stanchart to retrieve the money after it had been paid into his account but was refused because the bank officials questioned how a pensioner could have such youthful features as Wugah had.
The bank officials were said to have asked Wugah to produce documents to prove that he was indeed a pensioner who was entitled to the GH¢77,000.
Wugah, according to the BNI source, went back to Adinyira, who in turn took Wugah to Amegbe to prepare documents to substantiate Wugah’s claim that he (Wugah) was certainly a pensioner.
The BNI source said Amegbe allegedly prepared fictitious pension documents for Wugah, resulting in Adinyira following Wugah to Stanchart to withdraw the said amount.
“We picked wind of the situation, waited around the banking hall and picked up Wugah and Adinyira when they approached the teller to collect the money,” the BNI source said.
The source disclosed that the two then cited Amegbe as the main architect of the fraud.
It said “we picked up Amegbe later and in the course of the investigations it turned out this was a new method being used by some unscrupulous civil servants to steal the taxpayer’s money.”
“We are determined to plug the loopholes to protect state funds. This kind of fraud cannot be allowed to prevail,” the source emphasised.