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National Service Secretariat boss trial – eight to return stolen money with interest

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Alhaji Alhassan Imoro
Alhaji Alhassan Imoro

Eight persons allegedly involved in suspected malfeasance that hit the National Service Secretariat (NSS) are negotiating with the State to pay the money they stole with interest.

Prosecuting Mrs Yvonne Attakora Obuobisah, Chief State Attorney said they are 95 per cent complete on the decision to pay the money, adding what they is left is as the time to start paying.

The prosecutor therefore prayed for a date in order to inform the court on the way forward.

According to the court one of the accused persons Festus Obeng Sefah, Central Regional Administrator of the NSS, per the court records have completed paying the money.

He misappropriated GH¢63,575.00 from September 2013- August 2014.

Mr Denis Adjei Dwomoh, Counsel for Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, former NSS Executive Director asked the court to vary the bail condition of his client which spells out that he should report to the BNI every Wednesday.

This the court obliged after inquiring from the case investigator as to whether the former NSS boss is needed.

The matter was adjourned to December 10.

Imoro is standing trial with 34 other persons implicated in the massive fraud that struck the scheme.

The 34 others were variously charged with conspiracy and stealing.

Imoro is facing additional charge of “giving bribe to influence a public officer.”

The prosecution alleged that Alhaji Imoro, within the said period 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 to September 26, 2014, given GH¢25,000 and GH¢15,000 to one Charles Kipo, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) Investigator, to influence him.

The accused persons have pleaded not guilty before the court presided over by Mrs Justice Georgina Mensah Datsa.

They are currently on bail.

Prosecution said in July 2014 the BNI commenced a nationwide investigation into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service persons.

The prosecutor said a report received by the Bureau indicated malfeasance in the postings and payment of allowances.

According to prosecution, investigations established that from September 2013 – August 2014, the payroll of the NSS was bloated by 31,516 names for both the national service postings and the national voluntary service recruitment.

The prosecutor said during that service year, national service persons were paid GH¢243 per month and GH¢350 per month from January to August 2014.

The state 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 of the scheme, and implemented by the district directors, involved the generation of ‘ghost’ names.

Prosecution said the ghost names were added to the genuine names on the nominal rolls based on which payment vouchers were prepared, adding that the vouchers were prepared by the Chief Accountant, Ayeltiga, and passed on to the internal auditor.

According to prosecution Aku Mensah, whose duty it was to audit and vet all the accounts and payment vouchers, did not do so and yet passed them on to Ayeltiga and received regular payments from some regional directors.

The prosecutor stated that the ghost names which were detected in all the districts in the country were mostly posted to the rural areas and in some cases, to non-existent institutions and departments.

Prosecution averred that Alhaji Imoro never dealt directly with the district directors and that the ghost names were sent by the accused to the regional directors with firm instructions as to how much was to be sent to him every month.

The number of names, the prosecutor said, Alhaji Imoro gave to each regional director depended on the trust and loyalty he had developed with each of them.

Source: GNA

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