The trial of the 35 persons implicated in the massive fraud at the National Service Secretariat (NSS) took a dramatic turn at the Economic, Financial and Tax Division of an Accra High Court yesterday when 25 of them opted to refund the monies they are alleged to have stolen.
Twenty-two lawyers for the various accused persons who had denied the offence spontaneously, trailed Egbert Faibille Jnr. counsel for Ali Ahmed Awubila, Ebenezer Edzii, and Nana Fosu Amankwa Agyapong, directors for Central, Brong-Ahafo and Eastern Regions respectively. He had told the court that his clients were exploring the possibility of refunding the money.
He said he was coming under Section 35 of the Courts Act which states that the state might withdraw the charge against the accused persons if they refunded the monies.
Other accused persons who have offered to refund the monies include Dominic Delle, accountant, Northern region; Festus Obeng-Sefa, administrator, Central Region; Cletus Kaba, administrator, Northern Region; Seth Nana Obugyei Asiedu, former, Director Greater Accra Region; Gabriel Nyorke, Director, Volta Region and Michael Tottimeh, former Director, Western Region.
Others are Shaibu Terni Abiru, Director, Northern Region; George Dasah Naanwinyelle, former Director Upper East region; Nelson Ayeltiga, former accountant and Michael Kombor, Deputy Executive Director.
The rest are Francis Himbuah, Accountant, Eastern Region; Alexander Agumey, Accountant, Central Region; Seth Quarteyli Quartey, Accountant, Accra and Emmanuel Asante, Administrator, Accra.
Alhaji Alhassan Imoro
The 25 and 10 others, including Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, former Executive Director of the Secretariat, had been variously charged for conspiracy and stealing.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Imoro who is facing an additional three-count charge of ‘giving bribe to influence public officer,’ has not made any offers to refund the money.
The prosecution alleges that Alhaji Imoro, from the months of September 2013 to 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 favour.
At the hearing of the case yesterday the state prosecution, led by Penelope-Ann Mamattah, a Chief State Attorney, in the court presided over by Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, said it was fair to give a hearing to those who had offered to refund the money.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until July 3, 2015.
Ms. Mamattah 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.
She said investigations established that within the said 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.
Ms. Mamattah 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 led to the state losing GH¢107,897,018.36.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
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