The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has arrested a Chinese woman for allegedly transferring $313.59 million out of the country illegally, otherwise known as money laundering, the Daily Graphic has gathered.
The suspect, Chen Jianhua, was arrested and 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.
She is also being investigated for tax evasion and using forged bank accounts and a fake driver’s licence, the Daily Graphic has gathered.
EOCO said they were finalising investigations and would file charges against her and her collaborators by the middle of next month.
A source at EOCO told the Daily Graphic in Accra that “we are at the concluding stages of investigations and this will pass as one of the biggest money laundering cases in the history of the country.”
EOCO, according to the source, began investigating Chen after identifying suspicious transactions through some bank accounts.
Ms Chen was consequently picked up last week and placed in police custody.
According to the source, on May 30, 2011, Jianhua opened a personal bank account (local and foreign) in Ghana.
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.
Chen, the EOCO source said, held a residence permit Number RP0255003 issued in 2010, and tenable with Country Garden Limited, a restaurant.
“The entity ceased operating in 2012, which means the residence permit was not tenable, but she re-registered on March 13, 2019 while the investigations were ongoing,” it stated.
EOCO further found that there was no evidence of the operation of Country Garden as a restaurant.
Expatiating on the alleged deals, the source said EOCO 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.
In one of the banks, EOCO said, Chen had an account with the name Esther Chen, which was different from her official name which is on her passport.
According to the source, it was established that she used a fake driver’s licence and an identity card to open the bank account.