Daniel Kofi Duku
It has emerged that a former Chief Executive Officer of Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Daniel Kofi Duku, allegedly issued dud cheques to the fund when he was asked to refund monies he purportedly unlawfully misappropriated.
The CEO, who reportedly was on a monthly salary of $15,000 (GH¢63,000), was said to have embarked on an unauthorized business trip outside the country and ended up blowing $26,000 belonging to the fund.
The Board of Trustees then asked him to refund the amount; and an internal investigative report conducted into the VCTF indicated that $8,252 had been paid, with $18,000 still outstanding.
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is currently probing him for alleged massive corruption under his leadership.
When pressure was mounted on him to refund the rest of the money, Mr Kofi Duku allegedly issued two Barclays Bank cheques on July 30, 2011 and August 15, the same year, representing GH¢20,000 and GH¢10,000 respectively, which were all dishonoured by the bank when they were presented.
The alleged corrupt practices at the VCTF – which have virtually brought the fund, meant to give lifeline to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to its knees – has sparked public outrage.
Two important schemes under the fund called Development Assistance Fund (DAF) and the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) were allegedly used as an avenue to steal state funds.
Currently, only about 7% of a whopping GH¢18.26 million invested by the government between 2010 and 2015 has been recovered, and GH¢32 million is reportedly missing.
About 205 SMEs are said to have benefitted from the DAF and SPV schemes and some existing and former employees, particularly Mr Daniel Kofi Duku, have been cited for “directly or indirectly” engaging in “fraudulent activities” during the disbursement of the DAF and SPV loans.
Loans were purportedly awarded to phony companies which could not be traced, making recovery very difficult.
Mr Kofi Duku, who was appointed by the late President Atta Mills in June 2010, was removed by John Mahama and replaced with the current chief executive, Osman Sulemana, who just referred the matter to the BNI.
An internal investigative report cited by DAILY GUIDE mentioned the alleged fraudulent activities of the former CEO and his cronies and as a result, Mr Osman Sulemana, on the instructions of the Board of Trustees, has invited the BNI to thoroughly look into the matter.
Apart from Mr. Duku, other top managers who are to be investigated include Kofi Sarpong, a former senior investment officer; Irene Anti Mensah, special assistant to the Ex-CEO; Emmanuel Akuamoah, Deputy General Manager – Kumasi Office; Charles Okyere, a client and friend to the Ex-CEO; Lassey Agbenyefia, former Trustee; George Aidoo, driver of the ex-CEO and Charity Opoku, former accountant and now an Investment Officer.
Conflict Of Interest
The report stated that “further investigations on the background of companies with the aim to aid recoveries of loans granted by the Trust Fund have revealed Mr. Duku’s involvement, through a company owned by him and other key application addresses same as one linked to him.
“These linkages cited are against the conflict of interest rules guiding the public sector and further hinders the efforts of the Trust Fund to recover these amounts paid to these non-existing companies.”
According to the report, the former CEO disregarded the board’s directive to halt the disbursement of the loans and went ahead in an ‘ultra vires’ fashion to disburse a whopping GH¢825,000.
It further said the involvement of Mr Agbenyefia, former trustee of the fund in many of the loans granted “is damning and partly relates to matters of fraud.
By William Yaw Owusu