Accounts officer jailed 12 years for stealing GH¢2.5m

BY: Samuel Duodu
Fuseini Hamza — the convict
Fuseini Hamza — the convict

A Tamale High Court on Friday sentenced an accounts officer at the Domestic Tax Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in Tamale to 12 years in prison for stealing GH¢2,430,774.30 belonging to the state.

The convict, Fuseini Hamza, was also fined GH¢36,000 for money laundering or in default serve an additional five years.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Edward Apenkwah, also ordered that a house in Tamale which Hamza built with the stolen money be confiscated to the state.

Mr Justice Apenkwah said the sentence was to serve as a deterrent to public officials who wanted to steal state funds meant for national development.

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Facts

The facts of the case, as presented in court by a Principal State Attorney, Mr Salia Abdul Quddus, were that Hamza, as part of his duties, was responsible for lodging money collected by his office into the various accounts of the GRA.

In June 2017, the Northern Regional Accountant of the GRA discovered, during a validation exercise, that there was a shortfall of GH¢2,430,774.30 in the accounts of the authority.

When Hamza was questioned by the accountant, he said he had duly lodged all the money into the accounts of the GRA.

The accountant followed up to the GCB Bank Limited to verify whether or not Hamza had lodged the money with the bank and realised that GH¢2,430,774.30 had not been deposited in the account.

The prosecutor said following further interrogation, Hamza admitted to not paying the money into the accounts of the GRA but had rather used it to acquire personal property, including two plots of land, a house and a 4×4 vehicle.

The matter was reported to the police and Hamza was  arrested.

After investigations were completed, he was charged with two counts of stealing and money laundering and put before the court.