Just 16 months after being employed as a contract staff at Absa Bank Ghana – Osu Branch, 25-year-old Emmanuel Sakyi Afriyie was able to break into customers’ accounts to allegedly steal a whopping GH¢1,209,304.69.
The customers include; late Ernest Ako, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP) from September 30, 1974 to July 17, 1978 and late Justice Anthony Kofi Adada, a retired High Court judge.
The rest are William Joe Frimpong, Reverend Theodore Baba Hackman, Esther Marian Hackman, EkuaEwuduwaDadzie and Rev. Cynthia Patricia Asamoah.
The accused allegedly transferred funds of the customers to 17 people, including the girlfriend of the second accused (A2), Cecil NyamesemAgyarkwa.
Emmanuel (A1), together with A2, Richard Aikins (A3), Michael Tweneboah Oppong (A4), Fouad Mohammed (A5) and Caleb Bandoh (A6) were arraigned on various crimes, including stealing and conspiracy.
A1 alone is facing additional charges of forgery of other documents and falsification of accounts, bringing the total charges levelled against him to 13.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the offences and with the exception of A1, who was remanded, the rest were granted bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 each, with two sureties who are in gainful employment and earn not less than GH¢2,500 a month.
The court, presided over by Her Honour Ellen Ofei-Ayeh, on Friday ordered that the sureties deposit their Ghana Card with the Registrar of the court, while the accused persons on bail also report twice a week to the police, till the next hearing date, June 26, 2023.
However, the court was told by the Prosecuting Officer, Chief inspector Isaac Anquandah, that 11 other accused persons are on the run.
The prosecuting officer narrated to the court that Nana Addo Ampem-Darko, Head of Fraud Detection and Operations at Absa Bank Ghana Limited, is the complainant in the case.
According to him, A1 is a resident of Labone and until May this year, he was contracted as Processing Officer at the bank.
He added that Cecil is 26 years old and a student at University of Ghana, Richard, 31, a trader, Michael, 25, also a trader, Fouad, 32, a System Administrator and Caleb, 25, an entrepreneur.
Those at large are; Clinton Asamoah (A7), Kwame Owusu Buadu(A8), Nicholas Nii Sai (A9), Nana Kwesi Gyimah (A10), Benjamin Adoari (A11), Daniel Osei (A12), Boadu Nana Yaw Adjei (A13), Joseph D Anim (A14), Ernest Aryee (A15), Isaac De-Heer (A16) and Othniel Amankwah Darkwa (A17).
He told the court that Al was employed by Absa bank as a contract staff in the month of February 2022 and was posted to 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.
C/Insp Anquandah said due to Emmanuel’s job description, he worked on several accounts, including that of EkuaEwuduwaDadzie’s bonus and savings accounts.
However, somewhere in February 2023, Al registered for an online coding course, which the renewable annual subscription fee was USD 174.30, equivalent to GH¢2,287.69.
Unfortunately, instead of A1 to pay for the course out of his own pocket, he rather made the payment on Rev Cynthia Patricia Asamoah’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 Al, but the latter 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 A1 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 Al by his own machination accessed one of his colleague’s User ID and password to change the contact number on another customer, Ekua Ewuduwa Dadzie’s accounts.
So, on April 21, 2023 Al personally set up an internet and mobile banking access on Ekua Ewuduwa Dadzie’s accounts, using his own User ID and password, after which he had access and started operating on the accounts without the victim customer receiving SMS alert.
Therefore, from April 21 to May 12, 2023, Al with full access to the Ekua Ewuduwa’s 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 Cecil’s girlfriend, Rhoda AbenaGransimaaPanyinQuansah’s Cal bank and Fidelity bank accounts; GH¢180,000.00 to Richard’s Cal bank account; GH¢30,000.00 to Michael’s Cal bank account and GH¢30,000.00 to Fouad’s GT bank account.
Caleb also received GH¢30,000.00 in his Cal bank account, Kwame and Nicholas received GH¢30,000.00 and GH¢60,000.00 respectively in their Access bank and Fidelity bank accounts and Nana Kwesi got GH¢90,000.00 in his Cal Bank account.
Benjamin had GH¢60,000.00 in his Ecobank account, Daniel received GH¢30,000.00 in his Fidelity account, Boadu, GH¢30,000.00 his GT bank account, and Joseph, GH¢60,000.00 in his FNB account.
All of the transfers were done in tranches of GH¢30,000.00 on different dates within the said period.
On May 9, 2023 from 7:21am to 7:32am, he used another colleague and that of the branch Manageress, Felicia Mackenzie’s Users IDs to change and authorise the contact numbers of eleven customers’ accounts, including the account of late Justice Anthony Kofi Abada, former IGP, late Mr. Ernest Ako, Williams Joe Frimpong, Rev Theodora Baaba Hackman, Esther Marian Hackman and replaced them with only one contact number, 0531668674.
The prosecutor told the court that Al used eleven minutes to complete these process, 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 Al transferred GH¢50,000.00 from Esther Marian Hackman’s account to Absa account of Ernest Aryee and did the same on the next day, by transferring GH¢50,000.00 each from late Ernest Ako, Williams Joe Frimpong and Rev Theodora Baaba Hackman’s accounts to some other Absa account holders.
The receivers of the transfers were Ernest, Othniel and Isaac.The court was told that Cecil, Richard, Michael and Fouad stated in their respective investigation cautioned statements that Clinton came to their shops to purchase Iphone 14 Pro Max and requested for their bank accounts details and forwarded the same to Al to effect those fraudulent transfers into their accounts.
On May 12, 2023 Al 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 Al 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, A1 together with his girlfriend Ivy Okertchiri, 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.
C/Ins Anquandah stated that investigation revealed that Al, together with his accomplices, within the period of April and May 2023, stole a total amount of GH¢1,209,304.69 from the aforementioned customers’ accounts.
He said the police are still investigating the matter to trace and arrest all the remaining accused persons as well as the proceeds of crime.