General News of Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) has described us unfortunate a publication alleging financial malfeasance amounting to GHc1 million at the centre.
A release issued by the small loans lender on Tuesday maintains, “the Daily Graphic did not contact MASLOC for its side of the story before going to press.”
The Daily Graphic published in its Tuesday, February 17 edition that an acting Director of Operations of MASLOC, Ken Kwaku Boadi Asare, allegedly forged 102 non-existing business associations to advance GH¢1,055,582 to two financial institutions – Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited and Unicorn Happy Investments Limited.
Mr Boadi Asare, who is currently on interdiction, is alleged to have acted in connivance with some regional officers of MASLOC to perpetrate the crime.
The press statement from MASLOC however, suggests that the newspaper publication is an attempt to vilify the institution:
“It is important to note that aside the internal disciplinary processes that were initiated by Management, Management found it prudent to report the matter to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) in December 2013 for further investigations.
“EOCO has currently concluded its investigations into the matter and the report is being finalized for onward submission to the Attorney Generals’ Department for advice”, the statement said.
The statement by MASLOC is reproduced below, unedited:
Our attention has been drawn to a front page story in The Daily Graphic of Tuesday February 17, 2015 captioned “Rot at MASLOC – Operations Director diverts GH¢1million to two (2) financial firms” which has led to discussions on various print and electronic media.
It is unfortunate that the Daily Graphic did not contact MASLOC for its side of the story before going to press. Management of MASLOC however wishes to state the following facts in response to the said publication: 1. A reconciliation of data against monthly loan reports conducted by Management in June 2013 revealed some variances between cheques issued and loan disbursement reports submitted by each region.
2. Based on this revelation, Management caused a critical review and monitoring of loan portfolios affected which revealed that a number of cheques purported to have been issued were not disclosed in the monthly reports of some regions. (Ie. Western and Eastern Regions).
3. Upon tracing and investigations by Management, it was revealed that these undisclosed cheques were cleared through the account of Rhokida Investment Limited maintained at the South Industrial Area Branch of Merchant Bank, Accra.
4. Management through its investigations found out that funds from this account were withdrawn by one Mr. Philip Koufie, a Director and Shareholder of Rhokida Investment Limited.
5. Further investigations revealed that Mr. Ken Kwaku Boadi Asare, the then Deputy Head of Operations and three (3) other staff, i.e. Mr. Kingsley Boakye, Credit Officer Eastern Region, Mr. George Owusu Sasu, Regional Manager Western Region and Ms. Marian Ephraim Egyir, Credit Officer Western Region were implicated in the scam.
6. In accordance with Article 26.6 of the Conditions of Service of MASLOC a Disciplinary Committee was set up to among others establish the facts and make recommendation to Management.
7. It is important to note that aside the internal disciplinary process that were initiated by Management, Management found it prudent to report the matter to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) in December 2013 for further investigations.
8. EOCO has currently concluded its investigations into the matter and the report is being finalized for onward submission to the Attorney Generals’ Department for advice.
9. Management after concluding its internal investigations also took action against the affected staff in December 2014. Ken Kwaku Boadi Asare, George Owusu Sasu and Kingsley Boakye were dismissed from the Centre while Ms. Marian Ephraim Egyir is currently on suspension.
10. Management wishes to assure the general public that contrary to the publication in the Daily Graphic, MASLOC has adequate internal controls in place to mitigate any risks posed to the Centre’s operations, and that it is these controls that ensured that this scam was unearthed and subsequently reported to EOCO.
11. The Board of Directors and Management of MASLOC further assures the general public that together with EOCO all monies lost by the Centre through this scam are being retrieved as some payments have been made. Further all efforts are being taken to recover the outstanding monies including interest from the perpetrators of this scam.
12. Management wishes to assure the general public that MASLOC shall continue to work assiduously not only to protect the public purse but would also not shield ANY of its officers found culpable in the discharge of their daily duties.
13. MASLOC shall continue to alleviate poverty by creating jobs and improve the lives of the productive poor in society through the advancing of credit facilities.
14. In conclusion it is our fervent hope that when institutions of state put in place internal control mechanisms and/ or checks to expose corruption, those institutions should be applauded and not vilified in the press as is being currently done to MASLOC.