Money Laundering: Chinese granted Ghc 500,000 Bail

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An alleged $313.59 million illegal cash transfer from Ghana in 2019 involved a Chinese woman who has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢500,000 by an Accra Circuit Court. Ms Chen Jianhua was busted by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for allegedly transferring the sums illegally.

Her bail conditions were the provision of two sureties to be justified, depositing her passport at the court registry and reporting to EOCO every fortnight.

Ms Jianhua, also known as Esther Chen, is facing charges of money laundering, possession of forged documents, tax evasion and working in the country without a work permit.

She is standing trial with nine other former employees of some banks who are also on bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 with two sureties each to be justified.

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They include Mark Fauchie Sobreh, Prosper Sossoe, Kwesi Offei, Khadeeja Busari and Victor Tudzi.

The rest are Allison Akua Kwabena, Ernest Kwame Ansah, Jane Ansah and Nuhu Odu.

Illegal transfers

In 2019, EOCO arrested Ms Jianhua for allegedly transferring $313.59 million out of the country illegally, otherwise known as money laundering.

The Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Frank Adu-Poku (retd), said she was placed in police custody in Accra after EOCO found that large amounts of money in dollars, some of them linked to non-existent companies, moved through multiple bank accounts from Ghana to China between 2011 and 2019.

The total credit transactions on the account as of March 20, 2019, was GH¢154.06 million for the local account, and $12.36 million for the foreign account.

The corresponding debit was GH¢154.05 million and $12.36 million.

“She could not explain the source of the funds. Our investigations, however, revealed that those transactions were from companies, including Synergy Global Consult Limited, Venturome Ventures, Kings Royal Real Estates and other Chinese nationals in Ghana.”

Bank connivance

“The cedis on the bank account were mainly converted into dollars, and in connivance with the bank, she sent the funds outside the country without proper documentation,” Mr Adu-Poku said.

Expatiating on the alleged deals, the EOCO boss said, the investigative body established — on the bank account — that Chen was taking both local and foreign currencies from mainly Chinese individuals in Ghana for onward transfer to China, when she had not registered any transfer business in the country to warrant such huge dollar transfers to China.

“We also noted from available documents that Chen Jianhua was operating the bank accounts of other firms and individual persons,” Mr Adu-Poku added.

He mentioned the firms as Venturome Ventures, Synergy Global Consult Limited and Kings Royal Real Estates. All the three accounts were operated at one bank, while another bank operated the account of Alliqwabs Enterprise and the personal account of one Christopher King.

Synergy Consult accounts

Mr Adu-Poku said both Synergy Consult and Kings Royal Real Estates were owned by King, and explained further that King claimed that somewhere in 2015, Chen, whom he had known in the past, requested to use his personal bank account in all currencies (cedis, dollars and euros).

According to EOCO, King had explained during interrogation that he did not know the source of the funds and the work Chen was doing, hence would not know the basis of any of her transactions with Venturome, Alliqwabs and other companies.

“Again, he would not explain why millions of cedis had been changed into dollars and subsequently transferred to China and for what reason. His assertion was supported by Chen that King had not been part of the account since 2015,” Mr Adu-Poku said.

He mentioned that the total credit balances from various sources into the Synergy Consult account as of June 17, 2019, amounted to GH¢104.89 million, with debit balances of GH¢105.056 million, while that of Kings Royal Real Estates had credit of GH¢3.72 million and $3.364 million.

“All these funds were transferred from these two accounts and other accounts before it was finally converted into dollars and transferred to China without any documents,” the EOCO boss said.

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