An Information Technology (IT) expert who is suspected to be behind a syndicate that hacks into the online nurses training school admission system of the Ministry of Health has been arrested by the police
The suspect, Isaac Kwesi Otibu, 27, an official of the IT Department of the Accra Regional Hospital School of Anaesthesia at Ridge, is said to have generated his own online forms and receipts in the name of the ministry which he sold and issued to potential students.
An accomplice, whose name is being withheld for security reasons, has also been arrested.
The accomplice is said to have mounted an illegal sales point for the sale of the forms, although they were to be bought at the health training schools.
The health training schools include nurses training schools, health assistant training schools, school of hygiene, psychiatric nurses training schools, school of dental technology, public health, community nursing, peri-operative and school of anaesthesia.
The syndicate, which has been detected nationwide in all health training schools, is said to have cost the Ministry of Health about GH¢3 million, representing 50 per cent of its internally generated funds from the sale of the nurses training school admission forms.
Prospective students pay GH¢80 for online forms, after which they are issued with receipts with special codes which are used to fill the admission forms online.
An additional GH¢20 is paid for an envelope and postage of the admission letter.
Sales person detects fake code
The Accra Regional Police Crime Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police Mr Paul Natongma, told the Daily Graphic that the suspects were being processed for court on a provisional charge of forging documents.
Otibu, he said, was arrested after a sales person of the School of Anaesthesia was approached by a potential student with a receipt purported to have been issued by the school.
The sales person was said to have found out that the code on the receipt was fake, even though it had similar features like the authentic receipt.
Confirming the case, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Mr Tony Goodman, said the suspects had been syphoning revenue due the ministry and defrauding applicants for some time now.
“We suspect many people have fallen victim. In such cases, when people buy the forms from these fraudsters, they are not selected in the admission process because it is detected that the codes are fake,” he said.
According to him, the fake forms were sold in vans, illegal sales points and Internet cafes across the country.
Mr Goodman said until 2013, the ministry used the manual process by which applicants had to buy brochures at post offices which they filled and submitted through courier services, after indicating the schools of their choice.
“However, two years ago, we discovered that people were printing the manual brochures and selling them to unsuspecting applicants,” he said, adding that “the ministry then decided to invest in a system that would put a stop to the situation, leading to the acquisition of a server for the generation of software for the issuing of the receipt and online services”.
Source: Daily Graphic
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