One out of the 35 persons implicated in the alleged massive fraud that rocked the National Service Secretariat (NSS), has refunded the money he was alleged to have stolen from the state.
The accused, Festus Obeng-Sefa, the Central Regional Administrator of the Secretariat, was among the 25 persons, including Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, former executive director of the Secretariat who at the last court hearing opted to refund the monies to the state.
Obeng-Sefa was according to the prosecution, alleged to have between the months of September 2013 and August 2014, dishonestly appropriated a total of GH¢63,575 belonging to the state.
Per the gesture, the accused had “sought refuge” under Section 35 of the Courts Act which states that the state may withdraw the charge against the accused person if he refunds the money.
At the hearing of the case yesterday by the Economic, Financial and Tax Division of the Accra High Court, Ms Marina Appiah Oppong confirmed that the accused had paid the money.
She said the other accused persons had also paid various sums of money and had asked for six months, starting July to December 2015, to pay up.
Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, presiding, wondered if the prosecution had considered the option of taking interest on the money the accused person had paid, saying that simple interest was better than no interest.
Thirty-five officers of the NSS had been variously charged for conspiracy and stealing.
Alhaji Imoro, who is facing an additional three charges of “giving bribe to influence public officer,” has not made any offers to refund the money.
The prosecution allege that Alhaji Imoro, between the months of September 2013 and July 2014, at the NSS headquarters in Accra, dishonestly appropriated GH¢28,749,395.80 belonging to the state.
The former NSS boss is said to have on August 1 and September 26, 2014, given GH¢25,000 and GH¢15,000 respectively to one Charles Kipo, a BNI investigator, as value consideration for the exercise of influence in his (Imoro’s) favour.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until July 24, 2015.
The prosecution said in July 2014, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) commenced a nation-wide investigation into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service persons.
It said investigations established that within the stated period, the pay roll of the NSS was bloated by 31,516 names for both the National Service Postings and the National Voluntary Service Recruitment.
The prosecution alleged that an elaborate plot hatched by Alhaji Imoro, supported by senior officers of the scheme at the National Secretariat and all the regional directors and implemented by the district directors, led to the state losing GH¢107,897,018.36.
Source: Daily Guide
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