Nine former employees of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) who forged academic certificates to gain employment and received unjustified salaries to the tune of GHS238,888.78, have been charged for causing financial loss to the state.
They are Sylvia Ama Boh, Brenda Bannerman, Joyce Abena Donkor, Susana Okine, a.k.a. Tetteh Susana; Eric Dzokoto, Javanael Anthony Asmah, Lawrence Obuoba a.k.a. Gbeney , Richmond Ampah and Prince Yeboah-Kodie.
They were arrested by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in Accra following a forensic audit.
They were put before an Accra Circuit Court where seven of them pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to forge official documents, possession of forged documents, forgery of official document and money laundering.
The court, presided over by Mrs Afi Agbanu Kudormor, admitted each of the suspects to bail in the sum of GHS80,000 with two sureties each to appear again on 21 August.
Meanwhile, the court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Joyce Abena Donkor and Javanael Anthony Asmah, who failed to show up in court.
Prosecutors say the accused persons secured employment between the year 2016 and 2017.
According to the prosecution, the management of SSNIT, acting on information that some employees secured their employment using fake certificates, decided to conduct background checks and vet various certificates of its staff.
In the process, the accused persons were identified and handed over to the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) for further investigation.
In the case of Sylvia Ama Boh, investigations revealed she was employed on 6 December 2016 as an Assistant Benefits Officer Two with the Kade branch of SSNIT and that she presented a bachelor’s degree in Information Studies and Economics with Second Class Upper honours although she obtained a third class.
Brenda Bannerman presented a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Theatre Arts with Second class Lower but investigations revealed that the certificate was fake and that it was designed at an internet cafe at Akoto Lante in Accra.
In the case of Joyce Abena Donkor who presented a forged diploma in Business Studies, investigations revealed that the said certificate did not exist in the records of the Ghana Education Service.
Susan Okine and Eric Dzokoto were picked up for presenting fake WASSCE certificates.
Javanael Anthony Asmah allegedly presented a bachelor’s degree certificate in Business Administration from Zenith University College with the assistance of Prince Yeboah Kodie at a fee of GHs800.
Lawrence Obuoba a.k.a. Gbeney Lawrence Obuoba, also allegedly inserted Obuoba on his BECE certificate from Osenase L/A Junior Secondary School.
Richmond Ampah and an Information Technology Assistant and Graphic Designer by profession designed his own certificate at Dansoman in Accra.
In the case of Prince Yeboah-Kodie, he also designed and forged his so-called bachelor’s degree certificate.
The prosecution said the accused between 2016 and 2017 received an unjustified salary totalling GHS238,888.78, thereby causing financial loss to the state.
According to the prosecution, the accused persons’ unlawful activities were made worse through the waiver of recruitment and appointment procedures at SSNIT by the former Director-General of SSNIT, Mr Ernest Thompson, who is currently on trial over different charges.