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MASLOC operations dir interdicted over Gh¢1m fraud

A GH¢1,055,582 fraud has been uncovered at the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC).

An acting Director of Operations of the scheme, Ken Kwaku Boadi Asare, is alleged to have forged 102 non-existing business associations to advance GH¢1,055,582 to two financial institutions.

The suspect, who is currently on interdiction, is alleged to have acted in connivance with some regional officers of MASLOC to perpetrate the crime.

Investigators of the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) have since concluded investigations into the matter.

The docket on the case is being finalised for onward submission to the Attorney-General’s Department for advice, a highly placed source at EOCO told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

False representation
The final report on investigations into the issue, a copy of which is available to the Daily Graphic, indicates that nine people, including Asare, were interviewed during investigations into the matter.

It said Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited and Unicorn Happy Investment Limited approached MASLOC for a loan facility for onward lending by their microfinance companies.

“Mr Asare made false representations to the loans committee at MASLOC which he chairs and caused to be issued in the names of the groups he suggested.

“In all, a total of 102 cheques, with a face value of GHc1,055,582, were issued as follows: Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited – 70 cheques – GH¢737,247; Unicorn Happy Investments Limited – 32 cheques – GHc318,335,” it said.

According to the report, the figure was less processing fee and interest and for that reason the bank statement put the total figure at GHc1,037,260.

Those transactions took place between October 2012 and September 2013.

Findings
The report further indicated that Asare allegedly informed the two microfinance companies that MASLOC had stopped granting loans to micro-finance companies and was now dealing with groups.

It said Asare then instructed his subordinates in Takoradi, Koforidua and Amasaman to open files for the groups he listed for repayment to be effected.

According to the report, repayment of the loan amount was effected through Asare’s personal account at the Airport City branch of Stanbic Bank.

14 cheques not recorded
Findings of the investigations also revealed that out of the 32 cheques issued to Unicorn Happy Investment, 14 were not reported in MASLOC’s financial report.

Unicorn has since repaid its debt to MASLOC, but Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited has an outstanding debt of GH¢304,733.64.

Asare, through whose account the loan repayments were made to MASLOC, has an outstanding balance of GH¢346,685, while GH¢80,000 he is alleged to have advanced to an officer of MASLOC is yet to be retrieved.
A list of 14 cheques found in Unicorn’s bank statements but not found in MASLOC’s report, as well as a list of 21 cheques in MASLOC’s report but not found in Rhokida’s accounts, has been attached to the final investigative report.

Weak controls
Investigators observed that MASLOC’s internal control system was very weak and suggested that it “must be strengthened in order to identify risk-prone areas in both assessing and repayment of loans advanced to clients”.

MASLOC’s record keeping system was also found to be ineffective, thereby making it difficult to trace loan processing documents of beneficiaries for future reference and auditing purposes.

Investigators also observed that too much power had been vested in the schedule of the director of operations and, therefore, recommended the decentralisation of the roles to avoid future abuse.

Source: Daily Graphic

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