Minister Angry Over Chop Chop

Mr Aidoo Speaking to journalists
The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo has charged chiefs and people of Bibiani/Anhwianso/Bekwai district not to keep quiet but demand the refund of monies allegedly embezzled by two former officials of the Bibiani District Assembly.

The two officials, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, former District Finance Officer (DFO) and Louis Bayuoh, former District Coordinating Director have allegedly defrauded the assembly to the tune of GH₵506,639.39.

The amount, which was part of stool lands revenue for the development of the district, was allegedly embezzled by the two officials from January 2013 to January 2014.

They were arrested after a verification exercise was carried out by the District Audit Service in respect of revenues received from the Administration of Stool Lands between January 2013 and 2014.

The two former officials operated secret accounts with the Bibiani branch of Societe Generale into which they saved their illegal booty.

The Western Regional Minister directed the Police to investigate the circumstances leading to the embezzlement and revealed that Mr Bayuoh refunded GH¢40,000.00, explaining that a total of GH¢113,300.00 was refunded.

Mr Aidoo noted that after the Audit Service discovered the fraud and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) investigated and established the veracity of the matter, Mr Owusu-Ansah was arrested and charged, but was later transferred to Sefwi-Akontombra District and Mr Bayouh had since retired from the public service.

At Sefwi-Akontombra, the minister alleged, the DFO involved himself in another fraud by diverting stool land money into a secret account and when BNI interrogated him, he admitted the offence.

He said, the two officials were hauled before the court on the Bibiani case and learnt that the docket of the case was submitted to the Attorney General’s Office for further advice.

Since then, according to him, no information or directive has been received from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the prosecution of the case.

‘The chiefs and people of Bibiani should show interest in this case including, all stakeholders and the media. You should not keep quiet over this fraud because the money belonged to you so you must rise up and demand accountability,’ he stressed.

The regional minister said this in an interaction with journalists at the opening ceremony of a three-day retreat for metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) at Beyin in the Jomoro District.

The event afforded the MMDCEs the opportunity to exchange ideas, fraternize and chart the way forward for the development of their respective assemblies in order to ensure the provision of quality services, to enhance the standards of living of the people.

The retreat was on the theme: ‘Enhancing Local Development: The Roles of the Regional Coordinating Council and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to promote local Development.’

Mr Aidoo suggested that the Controller and Accountant General’s Department must change the procedure where the DFO and DCD were the only signatories to cheques to withdraw the assembly funds from the banks and give such control to MMDCEs.

He entreated the assemblies’ staff to be vigilant at all times to detect any fraud to safeguard public funds.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Beyin

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