The Accra Circuit Court ‘8’ has jailed two IT officers of Best Point Savings and Loans Limited, Silas Adjei and Kwadwo Kudekor, and a husband and a wife, James Afadzie and Patient Adjei, for stealing over GH¢1.2 million from the finance institution.
The four were given custodial sentence last week Friday, after going through a full trial and found guilty on the offences – conspiracy to steal, stealing, unauthorised interference, money laundering abetment of stealing, and dishonestly receiving.
The court, presided over by Justice Malike Wornya, sentenced Silas Adjei to seven years imprisonment, Kwadwo Kudekor, three years, James Afadzie, five years, and Patience Adjei, five years.
The brief facts of the case, as presented to the court, were that the complainant in the case is Best Point Savings and Loans Limited, while the convicts, Silas Adjei and Kwadwo Kudekor, were employed by the company as IT officer and IT support officer respectively.
The other convicts, Patience Adjei, are a mobile money merchant and sister of Silas Adjei, and wife to James Afadzie, a trader.
In January 2014, the company started its operations with a banking software known as Bankers Realm, which was purchased from Craft Silicon, a company based in Kenya.
In the course of operations it was realised that the system had some challenges, therefore, the management of the company decided to acquire and migrate onto a new system.
Therefore, at the end of the 2015 Financial Year, the company began migration from the Bankers Realm software on to a new software, the X100 Format, after having successfully ran a test conversion in December 2015, another test conversion with an updated database was converted for staff training in January 2016.
Subsequently, the court was told, another database was also converted for user acceptance tests on the new software, and after all these tests, a final database for Go-Live purposes was also given for conversion test on March 18, 2016.
Unfortunately, during the final conversion, while the data was being validated, some discrepancies between the old and new systems were detected, amounting to GH¢1,262.496.66.
Best Point Savings and Loans outsourced a consultant from Kenya to help investigate the cause of the discrepancies, and it was found that the system had been tampered with, and this was corroborated by the Software Engineers of Global Union Systems.
Further investigations also revealed that the transactions were similar in nature and emanated from four different accounts – registered in the names of the husband and wife, one Seth Asante alias Precious Havour and Theophilus Aboagye aka Dennis Amankwa (the latter is at large). Silas, apart from being a family relation of Patience Adjei, was also friends with Theophilus and Dennis.
The court was told that Silas fictitiously and unlawfully credited the accounts with various sums of money and, subsequently, deleted the transactions from the final database to prevent it from been migrated onto the new system.
As a result, narrations of these transactions had been changed to interest accrued paid to make it seem as if the transactions had been done automatically by the system, but all the audit trails were deleted to cover up the nefarious deeds of the accused persons.
Just as the company was at the final stages of the migration and detection of the discrepancies Silas tendered in his resignation.
Again, during the investigation by the software engineers, it came out that Kwadwo had on several occasions checked and performed transactions on the four accounts.
Additionally, Silas and Kwadwo were discovered to have changed two of the names of their accomplices and their photographs in order to avoid being traced.
After this thorough investigation a report was made to the police by the company, leading to the arrest of Silas on May 3, 2016 at his hideout at Pokuase-Amamole.
After a search was conducted in Silas’ room, the police recovered a number of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) vehicle documents, several bank cheque books, property documents and receipts of personal documents, a passport, ATM cards, import documents, and Ideal Finance Investment documents.
Other items found were a defective Better Ghana Agenda laptop, an HP laptop, a loud speaker, a Samsung flat screen TV, a Hyundai Accent private car with registration number GE 1588 5, and foolscap sales notebook for all the vehicles owned and managed by Silas totalling 18 in all.
Silas led the police to arrest his sister and brother-in-law at their hideouts in Kasoa and Dome respectively. He also led the police to retrieve 13 of the vehicles.
The police established during investigations that one of the recovered vehicles and two others were registered in the name of Silas’ wife, who initially denied ownership, but later admitted they were given to her by her husband.
Interestingly, while Silas was in police custody, he connived with two policemen who aided him to disinvest and cash an amount of GH¢l95,233.72 he had invested with Ideal Finance.
On July 26, 2016, Kwadwo was also arrested on the premises of the company.