16 persons are said to have been detained by National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) agents for their involvement in the theft of 500 draft checks intended for the Ghanaian Land Commission. The Daily Guide newspaper reported that the 16 suspects were a part of a 21-member organization that had been involved in stealing checks from the Ghana Revenue Authority for approximately GHC 100 million (GRA). According to the article, the suspects were detained between January and February 2023 as a result of a petition being filed against them for offenses they allegedly committed between 2021 and 2023.
It added that all the suspects were charged with three counts, including conspiracy to commit crime, stealing, and money laundering, contrary to Sections 23(1) and 124(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and Section 1 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 (Act 1044), stealing contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act (29) and Money Laundering: Contrary to Section 1 of Anti-money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044).
According to the report, the suspects included members of the commission’s employees Frederick Okai, Gideon Obeng Mensah, Andrews Tettey Antwi, Frank Kwame Darko, Jude Odoom Yamoah, Emmanuel Mawuli Bani, and Jephther Sanso Akyea. Gilbert Fongadje Awuvie, Isaac Karikari Junior, also known as Bonsu, Sani Mohammed Issah, David Maanyin Antoh, Kofi Armoo Okyne, Samson Sebrah, Frank Debrah, also known as Franko, Emmanuel Ketigoa, and Nutifafa Asare Kojo are the other suspects. Five of the suspects—Alfred Amarquaye, Jason Hassan Degalu, Mary Kish Bagbodjan, Leslie Bruce, and Adams—were listed as having eluded capture and are presently at large.
The nine suspects, who were Land Commission employees, allegedly planned the crime with the help of the other suspects, who included private businessmen, a banker with First National Bank, the Chief Executive Officer of the Air State Company Limited, and a staff member at the Tema Development Company Limited. According to sources at the NIB, the suspects gave draft cheques worth between GHC 20,000 and GHC 2,500,000 to their fellow conspirators at the Lands Commission instead of paying the commission directly, depriving the GRA of much-needed funds. They agreed and were able to manipulate the Lands Commission’s software to make it appear as though the aforementioned payments were sent to the commission, but that did not take place.
“The draft cheques were thereafter handed over to Emmanuel Ketigo through Samson Debrah and Frank Debrah, who took the cheques to clearing agents at the Tema Harbour, wherefore the said cheques were used to pay import duties for importers. “Thereafter, Emmanuel Ketigo received physical cash of the face value of the cheques, and the monies were shared among themselves based in percentage, with Emmanuel taking 15 percent of the face of the cheques, the first-nine suspects taking 40-45 percent whilst the remaining 40-45 per cent were shared among the remaining suspects,” a source is quoted to have said by the Daily Guide. The suspect told the NIB that they used the proceeds from their criminal venture to buy houses and other properties in Greater Accra, the Eastern and Central Regions. It added that suspects are still in the custody of the NIB, having failed to meet their GHC 2 million bail terms.