A former employee of the Akim Oda branch of SG-SSB Bank who embezzled GH¢592,000 belonging to the bank has been sentenced to 22 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Koforidua High Court. The convict, Francis Tetteh, who had been in custody for the past 13 months, was found guilty on four counts of stealings. The sentences are to run concurrently. Tetteh, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, used his position as chief cashier to manipulate the bank’s computer system to steal the money in tranches of GH¢361,000 GH¢231,000 and GH¢170,000 between July and October 2009. The facts of the case, as presented to the court, presided over by Mr. Justice G.S. Suurbaareh, were that on October 8, 2009, officials of the Inspectorate Division of the bank in Accra went to the Akim Oda branch on official duties and detected that the convict had stolen GH¢592,000. A report was lodged at the Akim Oda Divisional Police and, in the course of investigations, Tetteh admitted stealing GH¢531,000 and not GH¢592,000. Sometime between July 29 an the first week of August the same year, the convict failed to balance his papers after the day’s work and, after checking, the branch manager detected shortage of GH¢231,000 caused by the convict. The manager confronted Tetteh, who confessed that he had taken the money, which he had given to some people for a gold business in Accra and Kasoa, and promised to refund it after the transaction. The branch manager, after consultations, decided not to report the theft to the bank’s head office in Accra. He, however, informed the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) outfit in Akim Oda and decided to update the bank’s books to agree with the money the convict had embezzled so that when it was retrieved, the anomaly would be corrected to reflect the right account status. While the branch manager was waiting for the convict to retrieve and produce the money, the bank received an e-mail from the head office Accounts Department to the effect that a questionable transaction of GH¢361,000 had been detected in one of the suspense accounts and that the branch should investigate and reverse it. In the course of investigations, it came out that the convict had manipulated the computer system and stolen another GH¢361,000 and when he was contacted, he admitted stealing the money, which he claimed he had given to some people in Accra. The convict requested the assistance of the BNI and the police to travel with him to Accra and Kasoa to retrieve the money from those he had given it to. Passing sentence, Mr. Justice Suurbaareh said the actions of the convict, who was in a position of trust, could seriously erode public confidence in the banking sector. According to the court, the sentence should be deterrent enough to prevent other bank staff from committing such offences.
Source: Daily Graphic