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General News
"Suspicious" Dumping of shredded cedis ... 1/17/2009

A normal routine exercise by the Bank of Ghana (BOG) to destroy worn out currencies yesterday created panic among residents of South Ofankor, because they did not know the source of the shredded and compressed Ghana cedis notes dumped at the Masalaki refuse dump on the morning of Tuesday, January 13.

The anxiety was particularly heightened for two reasons: firstly, it was the first time that such a thing was happening and secondly, the hurried manner in which the money was dumped by an unnumbered tipper truck created suspicion.

When the Times got to the site at about 1.30 p.m. yesterday, scores of money-seeking residents were scavenging for the money although it was no longer legal tender.

The scene was rowdy as men, women and children were seen complaining and cursing whoever might have dumped the notes shredded.

The scene, besides the money, was littered with bundles which bore the stamps of Stanbic Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Merchant Bank, Ecobank and Prudential Bank.

The dates stamped on the bundles were very current, some as late as December 20, last year.

Although the money had been shredded, their serial numbers indicating GH¢50, GH¢20, GH¢ 10, GH¢5 and GH¢ 1 were visible.

A caretaker at the refuge dump, J.O. Ayitey told the Times that a blue tipper truck came to the site at about 1 0:30am yesterday to dispose of what they thought was refuse.

He said there were only two people on the truck, the driver and another man in the front seat.

"They were in blue shirts and 1 suspect that they might be from the Bank of Ghana," he said doubtfully.

He said because they did not suspect foul play it never occurred to them to check the content because they sat in a hut with their backs to the refuse dump.

He said not even the fact that the truck had no number plate aroused their suspicious.

Mr Ayitey said they only got wind of the situation when some children looking for scraps on the refuge dump discovered it and reported to them. "After dumping the stuff, the truck sped away and attempts later to chase it proved futile," he added.

Some of the people around who spoke to the Times expressed varying degrees of shock at the turn of events.

"I have for the past one week worked very hard just for GH¢ 10 but have not gotten it so seeing money being treated this way makes me get high blood pressure," Madam Esi Awumi told the Times.

Another resident, Kwasi Adjei, said he had always fought with his wife because he could not afford the GH¢5 required for his three children to take to school each day.

"I don''t care whether it is fake or genuine. The thought of it alone blows my imagination," he added.

When contacted later, the Public Relations Officer for the bank, Esi Asante, explained that it was a normal thing and is in line with the business of the BOG.

She said such currencies, which are either shredded or burned are worn out currencies not fit to be used as legal tender.

According to her, the bank has a very huge machine used for that purpose.

She said the usual place for dumping the shredded currencies or burning them was the Oblogo landfill site, "but that place was full and so the driver had to look for an alternative dumping site."

There is no cause for alarm because nobody can use these monies under any circumstances," she stated.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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