A private security man at the center of a GH¢1.5 million ATM theft at the Takoradi Market Circle branch of the GCB Bank has been jailed 15 years with hard labor after a trial which lasted almost five years.
The Sekondi High Court handed the sentence to Osei Owusu Baffour who was found to have succeeded in making fraudulent ATM withdrawals and used part of the money to acquire 10 luxury vehicles for himself, and two taxis for his colleague security man, known also as Essien, as a gift. He also opened several personal bank accounts and one for his child.
Baffour was charged with stealing while two officials of the bank were also charged with abetment of stealing. The court presided over by Mr. Justice Peter Kwabena Ababio, however, acquitted and discharged the two, Geoffrey Kofi Dawohoso, the then ATM Custodian, and Charles Kobina Essien.
In their defense, they established that it was the branch manager (now deceased) who facilitated the moves by the convict to commit the crime.
Presenting the facts of the case which started in 2012, the Chief State Attorney, Ms. Patience Klinogo, said the GCB Bank’s systems administrator at the Takoradi Market Circle detected the irregularities and lodged a complaint at the police station.
She said Baffour and Essien were private security men on duty at the bank’s branch in March 2012 when the bank detected imbalances from its ATM without any sign of a break-in.
The then manager of the bank was the only person who had the password to the ATM safe.
The amount
The situation, which persisted between March 2012 and October 2013, resulted in an audit at the ATM section of the branch.
Ms. Klinogo said it was detected that an amount of GH¢1,150,62 had been stolen from the ATM facility without any break-in.
She revealed that the bank reported the incident to the police and the four — the manager, the custodian, and the two security men — were pointed as prime suspects and were subsequently arrested by the Takoradi District Police Command.
Revelation and confession
The chief state attorney said during investigation, it came to light that the branch manager and custodian of the ATM allowed the two security men to be collecting and depositing the bank’s keys from and at the police station even on weekends and holidays, a practice, she said, was an affront to the rules of the bank’s operations and internal checks.
That gave the security men unlimited access to the banking hall.
During the investigation, Baffour opened up and confessed that he stole the money from the ATM safes on a number of occasions.
He told investigators that it was when the keys to the ATM room were given to him by the custodian of the ATM that he took advantage of the situation to enrich himself.
The 10 vehicles were later retrieved from Baffour and released to the bank by the Takoradi Circuit Court, where the case was initially heard.