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Banks are covering up fraud

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong, Daily Express

The Daily Express can exclusively report that some multinational commercial banks operating in the country are refusing to report financial fraud cases that have occurred in their banks to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for fear of bad publicity.

Although Daily Express has exclusive evidence of some of the fraudulent cases, and interacted with some of the victims, checks from the CID indicate that the banks involved did not report such cases to them, despite compensating the victims financially, as evidence of admonition of the fraud.

In one instance, a victim of the fraud (name withheld) revealed to the Daily Express that late last year, some fraudsters managed to withdraw thousands of Ghana Cedis from his account via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

He said upon prompting the bank which is situated between the Appolo Theater, near Kwame Nkrumah circle and the Nima Police Station on the Ring Road Central, it simply refunded the money to him, after it had finished with its own internal investigations.

He noted that the said multinational bank begged him not to report the incident and neither did the bank also report it.

 “Somewhere last year I detected that everything in my account has been withdrawn by another party without my knowledge. I had a text message from the bank, informing me that I do not have any money in my account. In all about GHc4,000 was withdrawn, but I only realized it after the last amount which was GHc100 was taken by the fraudster (s)”, he said. He added that he was shocked when upon notifying the bank, he was told not to report it to the police.

“The entire amount lost was however refunded after the bank said it had concluded its investigation,” he noted.
The said bank is among UBA, Ecobank, ADB, Fidelity, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, CAL Bank, Barclays, and Society Generale.
In sharing his story, a second victim of a similar ordeal noted that he has since closed his account with one of such banks located at Accra New Town.

When contacted by this reporter, the Assistant Branch Manager of the said Bank declined to disclose her identity and also declined to explain what they know about the incident to the reporter.

The Greater Accra Regional Police Crime Office confirmed that no such incident has been reported to them.

In an interview with the  Head of the Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Ghana, Mr. Franklin Belnye said his office never received such complaints from the banks, but was  however quick to add that it is an offense  for the banks not to  report the  incident if it indeed occurred.

Fraud cases are not alien to the banking industry in Ghana. It could be recalled that the Ghana’s Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) recently froze the accounts of some personnel of one of the biggest commercial banks after it was detected that huge sums of money have reportedly been siphoned from the vaults of the bank and deposited into private accounts with the connivance of the bank’s management.

In July last year, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service cautioned businessmen in the country about a new trend of crime, the Internet payment fraud.

It noted that fraudsters hack into the e-mails of business people who transfer various amounts of money through the banks to their counterparts outside Ghana, especially China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and other European countries for business.

According to the CID, perpetrators of the crime initially hack into the e-mails of business people, and illegally monitor communication on supplies, shipments and payments. Ultimately, the fraudsters then divert payments into their own accounts.

From January to June last year, three Ghanaian business people fell victim to the activities of the fraudsters and variously lost £10,000, US$75,000 and GH¢400,000 respectively.

All these monies were transferred from banks in Ghana supposedly to banks in the aforementioned countries, but they ended up in the accounts of the fraudsters.


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