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COVID-19 stimulus fund: Over 5,000 fraudulent applications received – NBSSI

It has emerged that out of a total of 450,000 applications received from the public for the COVID-19 stimulus fund, 5,200 of them are from fraudsters.

Executive Director of the National Board and Small Scale Industries(NBSSI), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh disclosed at a press conference in Accra on Friday, June 19, 2020, disclosed that applicants with fictitious data, documents, and personal details were among those who applied for the special fund, set up by the government to cushion small and medium scale businesses from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The discovery has resulted in the extension of the deadline for applications, from June 20 to June 26, 2020, to enable it to address all fraud-related cases before the fund will be disbursed.

“The online portal developed to receive applications has detected more than 5,200 fraud alerts representing multiple applications with the same mobile money or bank account details.

“For instance, we identified that one person registered for over 100 people in a community with the same documentation, mobile money contact, or account number.

“And so what we did was to engage the services of KPMG, a tax consulting firm, to do data analysis of the applications to help make the right decisions,” she said.

Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh indicated that some of the fraud cases detected had been forwarded to security agencies for further investigations.

Graphic.com.gh reports Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh explained that apart from the fraudulent documentation, the extension of the deadline was also as a result of varied concerns raised by some trade and business associations asking for more time to enable some of their members to submit their applications.

“We had to give all concerns carefully thought to arrive at the six-day extension. The grace period presents an opportunity to rectify complaints and errors of applicants with wrong credentials recorded on the digitalized application portal,” she noted.
As of Thursday, June 18, 2020, the executive director said the number of applications had exceeded 450,000, which were mainly made up of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Out of the number, however, about 75 percent had successfully completed their applications.

Applicants who registered via mobile phones represented 58.8 percent while the remaining 41.2 percent did it directly on the web portal.

 

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