Wednesday , July 24 2024

Bank staff arrested for stealing over GH¢1.2m from customers’ accounts

A contract staff of one of the major banks [name withheld] in Ghana has been arrested by security agencies for allegedly stealing close to GH¢1.2million from customers’ bank accounts.

He used two months to move the said amount from the various customers’ bank accounts to a branch of the bank located at Osu in Accra.

The customers’ accounts he allegedly stole from included that of a former Inspector General of Police and a judge, who are both deceased.
What did he use the money for?

He allegedly used part of the money to buy a mobile phone, an iPhone 14 Pro Max, a vehicle, a Toyota Camry, and moved some to his account in another bank and that of his accomplices’ accounts – 17 in total – in various banks and their mobile money accounts.

He bought an airplane ticket and had planned to abscond to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with his girlfriend.

The security agencies moved fast, put a trail on him, and arrested him at the Kotoka International Airport on June 4, 2023.

Arraigned

The 25-year-old Emmanuel Sakyi Afriyie has since been put before court together with some of his accomplices and remanded in custody. His accomplices have however been granted bail.

He is facing charges of various crimes, including stealing and conspiracy together with some of his accomplices.

Emmanuel alone is facing additional charges of forgery of other documents and falsification of accounts, bringing the total charges levelled against him to 13.

Eleven other suspected accomplices are however on the run.

He pleaded not guilty to the offenses.

The police are investigating the case further. He is to reappear in the court presided over by Ellen Ofei-Ayeh on June 16, 2023.
How did he do it?

The accused person is alleged to have used his boss’ password to do the transactions.

He allegedly secretly used a mobile phone to film his boss while she was entering her password and later watched the footage to know the password the boss was using.

He then used the two months period to move the monies from the customers’ accounts.

Facts

The Head of Fraud Detection and Operations at the bank is the complainant in the case.

According to him, the accused person is a resident of Labone and until May 2023, he was contracted as Processing Officer at the bank.

The accused person was employed by the bank as a contract staff in the month of February 2022 and was posted to the Osu branch as a Processing Officer, whose job description was to assist customers in loan processing, T-bill processing, debit card processing, dormant account activation, and customer account maintenance among others.

Due to the job description, the accused worked on several accounts.

However, somewhere in February 2023, the accused registered for an online coding course, for which the renewable annual subscription fee was US$174.30, equivalent to GH¢2,287.69.

Instead of paying for the course out of his own pocket, the accused rather made the payment on one of the bank’s customer’s Visa card on February 6, 2023.

As a result, the complainant and the Fraud team of the bank were gathering evidence on the matter to engage the accused, but he made a swift move to tender in his resignation letter, effective May 31, 2023.

The sudden resignation and the alleged illegal transaction on the customer’s visa card by the accused person made the bank officials more suspicious to investigate him in other areas.

The complainant, together with the fraud team, made up of the bank’s IT experts, detected that on April 20, 2023 the accused by his own machination accessed one of his colleague’s User ID and password to change the contact number on another customer’s accounts.

So, on April 21, 2023, the accused personally set up internet and mobile banking access on the same customer’s account, using his own User ID and password, after which he had access and started operating on the account without the victim customer receiving an SMS alert.

Therefore, from April 21 to May 12, 2023, the accused with full access to the said account, fraudulently transferred a total of GH¢945,133.00 including charges from the accounts to a number of people.

First and foremost, he transferred GH¢90,000.00 to the girlfriend of another accused person, GH¢180,000.00 to another’s account; GH¢30,000.00 together with other transfers in tranches of GH¢30,000.00 on different dates within the said period to other accused persons accounts in different banks.

On May 9, 2023, from 7:21 am to 7:32am, he used another colleague’s and that of the branch Manager’s Users IDs to change and authorize the contact numbers of eleven customers’ accounts, including the account of the deceased judge and the former IGP, who is also deceased and other customers and replaced them with only one contact phone number.

The prosecutor told the court that the accused used eleven minutes to complete these processes, after which he used his own User ID to set up online and mobile banking for these accounts on May 10, 2023.

On May 11, 2023 he transferred tranches of GH¢50,000.00 to other accounts and repeated that the next day.

From those transfers, the receivers stated in their respective investigation cautioned statements that the accused came to their shops to purchase iPhone 14 Pro Max and requested their bank account details and forwarded the same to him to effect those transfers into their accounts.

On May 12, 2023, he was arrested by the Police in respect of the Visa Card theft and was granted Police inquiry bail.

On May 15, 2023, the complainant on behalf of the bank petitioned the Director General of CID in respect of GH¢1,207,017.00 theft detected in furtherance to the Visa Card case.

Interestingly, when he was contacted to report himself to the police, he refused to show up, meanwhile, efforts to compel his surety to produce him also failed.

Arrest

On June 4, 2023, the accused together with his girlfriend, who stood as surety for him attempted to escape from the jurisdiction to Dubai, but he was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport by the Ghana Immigration Service and handed over to the police.

The investigation so far has revealed that the accused, together with his accomplices, within the period of April and May 2023, stole a total amount of GH¢1,209,304.69 from the various customers’ accounts.

The police are still investigating the matter to trace and arrest all the remaining accused persons as well as the proceeds of the crime.

Source: Graphic

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