General News of Friday, 2 November 2012
Source: Tweneboah-Koduah, Nana Akua
….Running Into Billions Of Old Cedis ….Third Time In 20 Years ….Management & Board Tight-Lipped On The Fraud ….Main Fraudster Still Walking Free
By Nana Akua Tweneboah-Koduah
Reliable information indicates that the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) has been hit with yet another gargantuan fraud running into billions of old cedis whilst the board and management due to embarrassment, shame and shock are tight-lipped on the issue.
Five personnel of the Advertisement Department of the GCGL who were part of the syndicate that has been making the fraudulent deals in the premises of the GCGL for years without detection, have been summarily dismissed rather than being referred to the police for investigations and prosecution. They are Ebo Acquaye, Michael Didza, Peter Wetri, Henry Quarshie and Ibrahim Sackey.
Strangely enough, the main fraudster behind the overall operation, Frank Oduro, General Manager, Marketing, has been asked by the board of the GCGL to step aside whilst they conduct internal investigations, with many personnel at the company seething with anger on why the police have still not been alerted on this massive fraud.
The GCGL has rather set-up its own kangaroo court with the chairman being John Tagoe, Procurement Manager, to conduct investigations into this matter which should have rather been referred to the police for outright action.
It is alleged that the fraudsters have been falsifying advertisement documents and cashing in big time. Some of the things they did involve the tampering of the software at the GCGL Adverts Department to record lower sales. For instance if an advertisement costs GHC 4,000, the cheats tampered with the software to capture only GHC 400, thereby cashing in GHC 3,600. The suspects are also accused of taking hefty advertisement discounts from government institutions and corporations and using some dubious means to pocket the proceeds.
Information available shows that this massive fraud which has the propensity to dwarf the two previous ones to hit the company, started way back when Mr. Ibrahim Awal was the managing director of the company. Frank Oduro, who was previously the Adverts Manager and became a General Manager, Marketing, under mysterious circumstances due to his closeness to Awal, is alleged to be the ring leader of this syndicate but the board and management seems not to have the guts to refer him to the police for investigation and prosecution.
But instead, GCGL is conducting its own internal investigations. Observers at the GCGL strongly believe that when the police are brought in, they may possibly unearth some serious deficiencies on the part of the management of GCGL hence their decision to do their own investigation with those conducting the investigations having no investigative background.
Some employees of the GCGL who are fuming with anger are questioning why up to date the police have not been brought in to take over the investigations.
This is the third time in 20 years that the GCGL has been hit by such a gargantuan fraud involving some employees, but the company which has the weakest internal control system does not seem to care a hoot about putting in measures to avert future occurrences.
An employee who wanted to remain anonymous stated emphatically that if there is fraud in another company involving just about GHC 2,000, the Daily Graphic will be the first to get the news out. The employee was therefore wondering why the Daily Graphic has not yet gathered the courage to publish such stinking news. “Are the board and management trying to cover up the mess or they are just trying to protect their reputation for a stinking supervisory work?” the employee queried.
Another employee also chipped in that the so-called bogus internal investigations will lead to nowhere. The employee who was not happy with how the management of the GCGL pays itself fat salaries at the expense of the other employees, said on Wednesday October 31, the company commissioned its new printing machine amidst fanfare and pomp by deceiving Ghanaians that all is well at GCGL when in fact, “Our house is burning with fraud”.
The GCGL was hit with a massive internal fraud in the early 1990s when the former managing director, Mr. Kofi Badu was just settling in after his appointment. Investigations by the police led to the conviction and incarceration of one of the accountants, Mr. Hiagbe, who served time for being the lead fraudster at the time. Mr. Hiagbe according to sources is now a free man owning several stores in Accra.
It would be recalled that during investigations at the first fraud to hit the company, one of the suspects, hanged himself at the BNI Headquarters cells. It was during that time that many people thought the company will put in place fool-proof internal control measures to ward off personnel from cheating the company out of millions. But it never happened.
A few years later the GCGL was hit with yet another massive fraud leading to the dismissal of some employees. But the board and management which seems to be only interested in their fat salaries and perks again did nothing until the latest fraud.