An Information Technology (IT) technician accused of stealing an ATM card of a pastor he worked for and using it to withdraw money has been put before the La Magistrate Court.
The accused, Ranford Anthony Arthur, is standing trial for using the ATM card which he stole with its default PIN to withdraw a total of GH¢12,000.
The money was withdrawn in batches of GH¢2000. Arthur is also accused of taking a picture of the voter’s identification card of the pastor and using it to acquire a vodafone SIM card, registering a mobile money account in the name of the pastor and using it to solicit for funds from the followers of the pastor online.
He has been charged with eight counts including stealing, defrauding by false pretence and forgery of documents at a hearing, presided over by Mrs Juliet Osei Deudo.
He pleaded not guilty and has been granted bail in the sum of Gh¢ 18,000 with two sureties.
The case has been adjourned to July 15, 2021.
Facts of case
Presenting the facts of the case, Chief Inspector Kenneth Niyennu told the court that the pastor of the Restore Prayer Partners, an online and radio prayer group, went to his bank together with Arthur to take delivery of an ATM Visa card with the default PIN.
The pastor kept the Visa card and the default PIN in his car and it is suspected Arthur took it, activated the PIN and started using it to withdraw money on the blind side of the pastor.
Investigations by the police and the Financial Crime Management Department of Fidelity Bank, showed that Arthur used the Visa card to make six separate withdrawals of GH¢ 2000 each. The withdrawals were done on March 16, 22 and 26, 2021.
He is also accused of taking a photograph of the voter’s ID card of the pastor and using it to register a mobile money account on a Vodafone SIM.
Restore Prayer Partners
Arthur published the mobile number registered in the name of the pastor on social media platforms and started soliciting for money from followers of the Restore Prayer Partners claiming the proceeds would be used for evangelism.
When the pastor was alerted about the use of his name to solicit for money from his followers he used a radio announcement to warn his followers to ignore the person behind that act.
On March 26, 2021, the pastor received an alert from his bankers on the withdrawal of Gh¢2000 from the account and he reported to the bank leading to the arrest of the accused, who was captured in the banks closed circuit camera (CCTV) installed at all ATM outlets.
Upon his arrest, Arthur told the police he used the money he withdrew with the ATM card to support his siblings’ education, buy a sofa for his room and also buy some food items.
When the police searched Arthur’s room, the ATM card was found hidden under a carpet while the vodafone sim card was also found hidden under the sofa.
Two days after he had been charged with the offence and granted police enquiry bail, Arthur went to the police and submitted another statement in which he denied knowledge of the offence.
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