A contract staff member of a major bank in Ghana has been apprehended by security agencies on allegations of embezzling approximately GH¢1.2 million from customers’ bank accounts.
The targeted accounts reportedly included those of a deceased former Inspector General of Police and a judge
According to reports, the accused individual utilized a variety of means to carry out the fraudulent activities.
These included purchasing luxury items such as an iPhone pro max and a Toyota Camry vehicle, as well as transferring funds to multiple bank accounts and mobile money accounts belonging to both himself and his accomplices—amounting to a total of 17 different accounts.
Furthermore, it is claimed that the suspect had planned to flee to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with his girlfriend after purchasing an airplane ticket.
However, law enforcement acted swiftly, initiating surveillance and managing to arrest him at Kotoka International Airport on June 4, 2023.
The accused, a 25-year-old named Emmanuel Sakyi Afriyie, has been brought before the court alongside several of his alleged accomplices. While his partners have been granted bail, Emmanuel has been remanded in custody. The charges against him include theft, conspiracy, forgery, and falsification of accounts, amounting to a total of 13 charges.
Meanwhile, eleven other suspected accomplices remain at large, prompting ongoing investigations by the police. Emmanuel is scheduled to appear before Judge Ellen Ofei-Ayeh on June 16, 2023. Despite the charges brought against him, the accused individual has pleaded not guilty to the offenses.
The Head of Fraud Detection and Operations at the bank is the complainant in the case.
According to him, the accused person is a resident of Labone and until May 2023, he was contracted as Processing Officer at the bank.
The accused person was employed by the bank as a contract staff in the month of February 2022 and was posted to the Osu branch as a Processing Officer, whose job description was to assist customers in loan processing, T-bill processing, debit card processing, dormant account activation and customer account maintenance among others.
Due to the job description, the accused worked on several accounts.
However, somewhere in February 2023, the accused registered for an online coding course, which the renewable annual subscription fee was US$174.30, equivalent to GH¢2,287.69.
Instead of paying for the course out of his own pocket, the accused rather made the payment on one of the bank’s customer’s Visa card on February 6, 2023.
As a result, the complainant and the Fraud team of the bank were gathering evidence on the matter to engage the accused, but he made a swift move to tender in his resignation letter, effective May 31, 2023.
The sudden resignation and the alleged illegal transaction on the customer’s visa card by the accused person made the bank officials more suspicious to investigate him in other areas.
The complainant, together with the fraud team, made up of the bank’s IT experts, detected that on April 20, 2023 the accused by his own machination accessed one of his colleague’s User ID and password to change the contact number on another customer’s accounts.
So, on April 21, 2023 the accused personally set up an internet and mobile banking access on the same customer’s account, using his own User ID and password, after which he had access and started operating on the account without the victim customer receiving SMS alert.
Therefore, from April 21 to May 12, 2023, the accused with full access to the said account, fraudulently transferred a total of GH¢945,133.00 including charges from the accounts to a number of people.
First and foremost, he transferred GH¢90,000.00 to a girlfriend of another accused person, GH¢180,000.00 to another’s account; GH¢30,000.00 together with other transfers in tranches of GH¢30,000.00 on different dates within the said period to other accused persons accounts in different banks.
On May 9, 2023 from 7:21am to 7:32am, he used another colleague and that of the branch Manager’s Users IDs to change and authorise the contact numbers of eleven customers’ accounts, including the account of the deceased judge and the former IGP, who is also deceased and other customers and replaced them with only one contact phone number.
The prosecutor told the court that the accused used eleven minutes to complete these processes, after which he used his own User ID to set up online and mobile banking for these accounts on May 10, 2023.
On May 11, 2023 he transferred tranches of GH¢50,000.00 to other accounts and repeated that the next day.
From those transfers, the receivers stated in their respective investigation cautioned statements that the accused came to their shops to purchase Iphone 14 Pro Max and requested for their bank accounts details and forwarded the same to him to effect those transfers into their accounts.
On May 12, 2023 he was arrested by the Police in respect of the Visa Card theft and was granted Police enquiry bail to be reporting.
On May 15, 2023, the complainant on behalf of the bank petitioned the Director General of CID in respect of GH¢1,207,017.00 theft detected in furtherance to the Visa Card case.
Interestingly, when he was contacted to report himself to police, he refused to show up, meanwhile, effort to compel his surety to produce him also failed.
On June 4, 2023, the accused together with his girlfriend, who stood as surety for him attempted to escape from the jurisdiction to Dubai, but he was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport by the Ghana Immigration Service and handed over to the police.
The investigation so far has revealed that the accused, together with his accomplices, within the period of April and May 2023, stole a total amount of GH¢1,209,304.69 from the various customers’ accounts.
The police are still investigating the matter to trace and arrest all the remaining accused persons as well as the proceeds of crime