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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Former Ambassador diverted $125,000 into private account

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Ghana’s former Ambassador to Japan in the Kufuor administration, Dr. Barfour Adjei-Barwuah, has been cited in a $125,000 scandal by the Ghana Audit Service after auditing the accounts of the Ghana Embassy in Japan.

Dr. Adjei-Barwuah is alleged to have diverted the money meant for two public universities in Ghana into the account of his private foundation, the Lotte-Bonsafo Scholarship Foundation. The money was a contribution by a Japanses chocolate manufacturing company, Lotte, towards supporting education in Ghana. The donation was in fulfillment of a promise made by the company during a visit to Japan by ex-President J. A. Kufuor in October 2002.

The report said Dr. Adjei-Barwuah, unilaterally changed the objective of the scholarship scheme, with the justification that he wanted to put emphasis on promoting primary and secondary education in Ghana. Thereafter, the ambassador claimed he made a proposal to Lotte for the scheme to be renamed Lotte-Bansafo Scholarship Scheme, with addresses in Kumasi and Accra.

The said on the instruction of the ambassador, the first installment of $25,000 was deposited in the missions Yen account on 17th July 2003, and later transferred from the mission’s Free Yen Account to its property account No. 941267210 in December 2003.

Then on 3rd September 2004, the amount was moved again, this time to the Property Fund Account of Bonsafo-Barwuah Foundation Account with CAL Merchant Bank Ltd in Accra.

The audit report drew attention to the fact that the action by the former ambassador to lodge public funds into the private account of Bonsafo-Barwuah Foundation contravened section 15(1) of the Financial Administration Regulation 2004, which states that “Any public officer who receives or collects public or trust money shall issue official receipt for them and pay them into the relevant public fund bank account within 24 hours.”

When the audit requested the former ambassador to comply with the Financial Regulation Law, he refused to transfer the money, insisting that he needed a special guarantee that the money would be spent on schools in his home town.

Daily Graphic

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