Four Jailed 28 Years For Pocketing GRA Money
Four persons, including two senior officers of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), have been sentenced to a total of 28 years by the Sekondi High Court for diverting GH¢520,000 belonging to the GRA into their private pockets.
Arnold Djameh, accountant, and Nicholas Atsu Yevu, deputy accountant, both attached to CEPS Takoradi Collection, were sentenced Tuesday to serve four years and eight years in prison, respectively.
The other two convicts, Anthony Angoe, the shipping manager of the Ghana Cement Company (Ghacem), and Ben Adu Blankson, a clearing clerk with EMBA Links, were also committed to serve eight years each.
One other CEPS officer, Nicholas Atsu Yevu, is said to have jumped bail and bolted to the United States of America with his family and was sentenced in absentia.
The case for the prosecution, led by a Principal Chief State Attorney, Mr George Kpodo, was that the four were able to divert the amount, which was duty on imported clinker and was supposed to go into government coffers through CEPS.
According to the prosecution, the import duty on clinker for Ghacem from Norway was normally prepared by Blankson of EMBA Link, a contracted agency of Ghacem, and handed over to Angoe.
Angoe then caused cheques to be drawn by GHACEM to CEPS for the payment of the duty and returned the cheques to Blankson, who would put a declaration on them and subsequently submitted them to the bank for payment, after the cheques had been confirmed by either Yevu or Djameh on various occasions.
After the payments were done, the four formulated ways to repeat the whole process using the same documents.
The subsequent rounds of the cheques were then handed over to the two CEPS officials who received cash payments from private and individual importers up to the tune of the GHACEM cheques at their disposal and used them to clear the goods of the individual importers.
The cash collected by the two CEPS officials from the individuals to the tune of the face value of the Ghacem cheques was shared among those involved in the deal.
While the others denied their involvement in the deal, Angoe admitted receiving GH¢170,000 as his share of the booty, which he promised to refund.
Yevu, Djameh, as well as Blankson, who had denied their involvement in the deal, however, agreed to refund an amount of GH¢520,000.
The prosecution said until they were convicted, the four managed to pay only GH¢145,000 out of the total figure through their respective lawyers.
Angoe paid GH¢20,000, Yevu and Djameh together paid GH¢90,000, while Blankson paid GH¢35,000.