The GH¢86.9 million stealing case involving the Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS) has been moved from the Circuit Court to the Financial Division of the High Court.
The Circuit Court, presided over by Mr Francis Obiri, was billed to rule on whether or not to grant Alhassan Imoro bail at the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday.
But Mr Obiri announced to the packed court that he had received a letter indicating that the matter had been transferred from his court to a higher court.
Thus he discharged the accused person as permitted by the law, but Imoro was rearrested and put before Mrs Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa.
Third RemandImoro, who is facing one count of stealing, contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, Act 29 of 1960, has for the third time been remanded in custody.
His first appearance in court was on October 15, 2014, two days after his arrest by officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge at the Circuit Court but his plea was not taken at the High Court.
The acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Cynthia Lamptey, prayed the court to remand the accused person because investigations were ongoing, but the defence counsel, Mr Dennis Adjei Dwomoh, did not take kindly to it, and accused the state of using its powers to trample on the rights of his client.
Mrs Mensah-Datsa took into consideration the gravity of the offence and also weighed the rights of the accused person against the interest of the state before refusing Imoro bail.
She urged investigators to allow the defence team to have access to the accused person.
Hearing continues on November 17, 2014.
BackgroundImoro was arraigned on October 15, 2014, after 27 district directors, 10 regional directors, and three directors from the NSS headquarters were picked up for questioning.
Facts of the caseAccording to the facts of the case, the BNI in July, 2014 began a nationwide investigation into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service persons.
It said investigations so far revealed that for every month, starting from the month of September 2013 to the month of July 2014, GH¢7.9 million was paid to 22,612 non-existing service persons, resulting in a total loss of GH¢86.9 million within the period.
The facts went on to state that it came up during the investigations that the ghost names were generated at the NSS headquarters “under the supervision of the Executive Director; the accused person.”
“The accused instructed and the names were added to the payment vouchers (PVs) of all the districts in which service persons were rendering their services.
The payment vouchers were distributed to the regional national service scheme directors and on receipt, they also distributed to the district directors under their jurisdiction,” the facts continued.
DirectivesThe accused person was alleged to have issued instructions to the district directors through the regional directors that after the allowances of genuine service persons had been paid, the money for the non-existing/ghost service persons should be withdrawn and sent to him through the regional directors.
According to the prosecution, Imoro allegedly received the GH¢86.9 million from the 10 regional directors.