Ex-NDC MP, 5 Others In Court For Stealing GH¢42m

01/05/2019

A former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Richard Lassey Agbenyefia, has been hauled before an Accra High Court for allegedly stealing and causing financial loss to the state.

Mr. Agbenyefia, former Chief Executive Officer of Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Daniel Duku and four former employees of the fund, are facing a total of 86 charges.

The four former employees are Irene Anti-Mensah, an Investment Officer of VCTF, who doubled as the Executive Assistant to Mr. Duku; Kofi Sarpong, former investment officer of VCTF; Frank Aboagye Mensah, businessman and the husband of Mrs. Anti-Mensah and Charity Opoku, aka Charity Ameyaw, an accountant at VCTF.

The six allegedly stole and caused financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢42 million between 2010 and 2015.

Modus Operandi

They allegedly used the names of a number of companies belonging to other persons to obtain loans without the knowledge, permission and consent of the owners.

According to the facts sheet filed at the Accra High Court (Criminal Division) by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa on behalf of the Attorney General, the former MP used the names of non-existent companies to fraudulently receive loans from VCTF.

According to the prosecution, “The former NDC MP, in some instances, obtained loans in the names of companies based on false representations to VCTF without the knowledge, permission or approval of the owners of the companies.”

Other fictitious deals

Daniel Duku, who was the CEO of VCTF between 2010 and 2015, according to the AG, introduced a loan scheme called Development Assistance Fund (DAF) to provide credit directly to individuals and companies in clear contravention of the objects and Act of VCTF upon assumption of office.

The prosecution stated that Mr. Duku could only approve loans not exceeding GH¢30,000 and any amount above that had to be approved by the board.

The prosecution said an amount of GH¢1 million, which was later increased to GH¢2 million, was approved by the board as a revolving fund for the DAF project.

“Investigations have revealed that Mr. Duku, the 1st accused person, disbursed various sums of money under the scheme, the total of which far exceeded the approved amount of GH¢2,000,000,” the prosecution added.

The AG also stated that prior to the assumption of office of Mr. Duku, there was an existing scheme known as the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which offered loans to farmers in the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions for the cultivation of sorghum.

It said per the scheme, Mr. Duku could only approve loans of up to GH¢50,000 and any loan amount above the GH¢50,000 threshold required the board’s approval.

“Contrary to and in flagrant disregard of the approved Board’s thresholds for the CEO, the 1st accused person persistently approved loans purportedly under DAF and SPV well above his threshold directly to a number of companies, some of which were non-existent. Some of these fictitious companies bore addresses which belonged to the 1st accused,” it revealed.

Imposition

According to the AG, Mr. Duku continued to stay in office although his appointment was terminated in June 2015 and disbursed more loans to companies, which belonged to his official driver and some cronies.

He has been accused of refusing to refund an amount of $26,063 he took from VCTF to attend an official programme in the United States which he failed to attend.

False Records

“Irene Anti-Mensah and Kofi Sarpong, who were responsible for evaluation and processing of loan applications to VCTF, failed to conduct the requisite due diligence on loan applicants but rather facilitated the grant of loans through falsified records by entering false information on the loan application forms,” it said.

Frank Aboagye Mensah has also been accused of using non-existent companies to obtain loans from VCTF.

SOURCE; DAILY GUIDE

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