The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has directed two former cashiers of the Judicial Service who allegedly embezzled a total of GH¢81,796 to report to the clerk of the committee to assist in investigations.
The two, Clemence Animabo and James Twum, who were with the Twifo Praso and Wamfie District Magistrate Courts in the Central and Bono regions, collected various sums of money as revenue for the state, but failed to lodge the said amount in designated accounts.
They are said to have gone into hiding since 2017, after the case was reported to the police by the Judicial Service.
Clemence is alleged to have absconded with GH¢61,759, while James also bolted with GH¢20,037.
The Chairman of the PAC, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, gave the directive when the Judicial Service appeared before the committee at its sitting at the Parliament House in Accra yesterday to answer to some infractions cited against the service in the 2018 Auditor-General’s ( A-G’s) report.
The committee wanted to know why it had taken the service so long to recover the said amount from the suspects.
The Director of Finance, Mrs Vera Takyi, who led the Judicial Service team, said when the alleged theft was detected it was reported to the police and the officers involved interdicted, but they were later granted bail.
She explained that the registrars with supervisory roles at the two courts were not held accountable because the cashiers admitted that they were solely responsible for the loss of the money.
She also said that out of GH¢64,444.00 received by the cashier at the Wamfie District Magistrate Court from August 31, 2017 to August 15, 2018, GH¢44,407.00 was deposited, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢20,037.
Mrs Takyi, however, told the committee that the service was in touch with the police to apprehend the suspects.
On measures put in place to prevent such theft from recurring, she said cashiers were now made to provide two guarantors as part of the recruitment process in order that the latter would be held liable in an event a cashier absconded with money.
Mrs Takyi also said some banks had now opened outlets on court premises where revenues were deposited, while in some cases, bank officials visited the courts at least twice a week to collect the money.
She said monitoring and supervision had also been intensified with unannounced and regularly checks and auditing to nip the practice in the bud.
The committee chairman suggested that the provision of guarantors must be made mandatory for all cashiers of the service.
The 2018 A-G’s report cited weak management oversight of the cashiers as one cause of the infractions.
The report also attributed the irregularities to ineffective supervision by registrars.