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More than GH¢30m lost to financial crime in 2017 – Bank of Ghana

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The amount of money the banking sector in Ghana lost to various types of fraud in the year 2017 amounted to GH¢30.08 million the Bank of Ghana has revealed.

Mrs Grace Akrofi, a Banking Advisor at the central bank, made the revelation in a speech at a two-day sensitization workshop being organized by the bank in collaboration with financial service providers and the judiciary on financial crime.

Reported incidents of fraud increased by 41.66 per cent from 1001 cases in 2016 to 1,418 in 2017, she said.

“In the same year, the total value reported for fraud or attempted fraud amounted to approximately GH¢ 190.38 million, of which 16 per cent, GH¢ 30.08 million was reported as losses and 84 per cent, GH¢160.30 million was recovered,”Mrs. Akrofi said, adding that, fraud types with the highest occurrence were suppression of cash and deposits, other fraud types included card fraud, manipulating of accounts and negotiable instruments, cheque fraud and forgery and alteration.

Cyber fraud, forgery and alteration of documents, impersonation, manipulation of accounts, cheque, cash and deposit suppression, remittances, card fraud and some other unclassified incidents constitute the fraud incidents that were reported by financial institutions

A breakdown of the statistics presented by the Bank of Ghana, reveals that non-banking financial institutions reported 725 incidents, which is 51.2 per cent, whereas rural and community banks recorded the 223 incidents accounting for 15.72 per cent of all reported incidents. Commercial banks reported 470 incidents representing 33.15 per cent.

The gross monetary value of fraud incidents reported to the central bank by commercial banks is approximately, GH¢110 million, while that of rural and community banks was over GH¢677,000 and over GH¢550,000 was reported by the non-banking financial institutions

Cash and deposit suppression recorded the highest incidents in fraud and attempted fraud reported, with 697 incidents reported to the Bank of Ghana in that year. Ninety per cent of the fraud incidents reported by non-banking financial institutions hinged on cash and deposit suppression. The gross value loss of suppression incidents is over GH¢15 million with about GH¢11 million lost in net value.

Overall, cyber fraud recorded the largest volume – recording GH¢110,865,960. But not much was actually stolen through cyber fraud, with less than one per cent, GH¢ 232, 818.516 lost in net value – that is how much was actually lost.

Since increase in the activities of fraud syndicates, with staff involvement, was cited for the high incidents of cash and deposit suppression reported, Mrs. Otoo, recommended that contract and temporary staff employees of financial institutions should be restricted from performing certain sensitive functions of the bank and must be adequately vetted by the police and Bank of Ghana in order to curtail the practice of recycling fraudsters in the industry.

At the end of the two-day workshop, members who were drawn from national security, the police service, the judiciary, the telecoms companies, and players in the banking the sector, will be adequately informed on the current fraud trends and be keen on coming together to combat the high spate of financial crimes in the country.

By Bismark Elorm Addo

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