General News of Friday, 15 March 2013
Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that more names have popped up in the alleged GHS200,000 fraud at the Volta Regional Hospital (VRH), popularly known as Trafalgar.
Media reports indicated that four top officials of the hospital were being questioned by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
However, DAILY GUIDE sources close to the BNI indicated that two more persons involved were also invited.
They are the procurement officer, Samuel Adusei and the internal auditor, Nelson Letsa.
This brings the number of people under investigation to six. They are currently assisting the BNI in investigations.
The four earlier suspects are the medical director, Dr. George Acquaye, head of administration, Rejoice Blebu, head of finance, Robert Annan and supplying officer/storekeeper, Richard Katapu.
When Dr. Acquaye was contacted, he commended DAILY GUIDE for giving him a chance to explain their side of the story but declined to speak on the matter since it was under investigations.
He explained that he believed in the competency of the BNI, noting, “I give the BNI the due respect to come out with the truth…that is their job….so am not going to pass any comments.”
He added that his comments could influence the case and that he would talk only after the BNI report was out, adding, “I will respect their report.” As regards the insults being spewed on him and his colleagues, he said, “Everyone has a right to speak.”
“I take consolation in the people who have called me and I’m not downhearted because the truth will come out for all to see and know,” he stated, saying, “If you are not criticized then you are not working.”
Narrating the details of the case, anonymous sources from the BNI and the hospital told DAILY GUIDE that the GH¢200,000 (¢2bn), which is believed to have been fraudulently diverted, was part of an original GH¢700,000 (¢7bn) released into the treasury account of the Ho Municipal Assembly for the hospital.
GH¢500 (¢5bn) of the full amount was used to settle the hospital’s debts while the GH¢200,000 was allegedly fraudulently diverted. Apparently, the medical director, administrator and finance head got wind of the GH¢700,000 when the hospital’s treasury officer had made it known.
The three, instead of informing senior management, allegedly met and came up with a ploy to raise documentation to cover the entire GH¢700,000.
They however got stuck somewhere and brought onboard the procurement and supplying officer and the internal auditor.
The procurement officer, Mr. Adusei, allegedly provided documents covering awarded contracts to cover GH¢500,000 of the hospital’s debts and “ghost” supplies expected from selected contractors to cover the GH¢200,000.
The supplying officer, Mr. Katapu, also raised a store received advice (SRA) to corroborate the supplies. The SRA authorizes payment and verifies that the goods and services have been duly supplied; hence the money from the treasury can be accessed.
The internal auditor, Nelson Letsa, finally prepared a report to verify that he had seen the supplies made and they corresponded with the money received from the treasury. After this, the cheques were prepared for the various contractors to claim the money from the bank.
Interestingly, some contractors returned hard cash of the money they received from the government treasury to the head of finance, Robert Annan, who kept the money in his office.
Unfortunately for the medical director and his alleged cronies, the BNI had been trailing the entire process after receiving a tip-off.
The supplying officer was the first to be picked up on Tuesday 19th February, followed by the finance director on 21st February.
Sensing danger, the medical director, the internal auditor, the head of administration and the procurement officer reported themselves to the BNI head office in Accra on Tuesday, 26th February.
They were all arrested and later bailed. They have since been visiting the BNI head office to assist in investigations. The money received by the finance director so far has been deposited with the BNI as evidence.