The National Service Scheme (NSS) has interdicted the Amansie Central District National Service Coordinator, Zakaria Ibrahim, for his alleged involvement in the payment of service allowance to ghost names.
About Ghc2million is said to have been paid to non-existent national service personnel in the district over a period.
The interdiction followed investigations by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) into alleged diversion of national service funds into private accounts and the payment of national service allowance to ghost names in a number of districts.
According to the investigations, some of the district coordinators of the National Service Scheme have connived with officials of rural banks to divert the money into private accounts.
Apart from Amansie Central, Obuasi and Bekwei districts, all offices in the Ashanti region are being probed. Some officials at the Jacobu, Obuasi and Bekwai branches of Odotobri Rural Bank are also being investigated for alleged connivance with the scheme’s coordinators.
Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, Executive Director of the NSS confirmed the interdiction to the Ghanaian Times over the weekend, but declined to comment further, saying his outfit was awaiting a report from its investigation team.
But a source at the BNI told the Ghanaian Times that bank statements covering the payment of the moneys into private accounts have been secured while the alleged perpetrators and bank officials were being questioned.
The source said the modus operandi was that, the affected Coordinators opened accounts with rural banks in the districts where they lodge the bulk of the moneys from the Bank of Ghana into an account for the payment of allowances to both actual service persons and nonexistent ones.
After issuing cheques to the actual service personnel, the remainder of the money, which is uncollected because of the addition of ghost names, is transferred by the bank into a private current account, which is cleared by the Coordinators, the source revealed.
The alleged fraudulent practice, according to the source, had been going on since 2009.
The source added that the investigation was prompted by a petition to the office of the President by a whistleblower.
According to the source, whistleblower’s petition indicated that at Amansie Central, for instance, service personnel were previously made to open bank accounts with the rural bank, into which their allowances were paid, but that was recently abolished to allow the money to be paid into an account after which it was disbursed through the issuance of cheques.
The source alleged that over Ghc2 million was reportedly paid to ghost names at the Jacobu branch of the rural bank while a total of over Ghc4 million has been paid to non-existent service personnel at Obuasi and Bekwai branches of the bank.
Dr. Clement Apaak, Spokesman for the Special Operations Unit at the Office of the President, also confirmed the case to The Ghanaian Times, and indicated that it was one of the alleged corruption cases referred by the President to the investigative agencies for action.