Richard Acheampong, the manager of the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS), has indicated that the Attorney General will soon prosecute 200 individuals who fraudulently benefitted from the scheme.
He said that the individuals faked bank records and standing orders in order to benefit from the scheme.
Falsifying documents with the aim to circumvent the requirements of the law is a crime under Section 159 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
According to the clause, “whoever forges any document whatsoever, with intent to defraud or injure any person, or with intent to evade the requirements of the law, or with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of, any crime, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Acheampong stated that the 200 people will be subjected to the letter and spirit of the law.
“We have denied a large number of applications due to fraud. On several occasions, the bank statements we receive from clients have been altered; individuals have even submitted false standing orders.
“But through our verification process, we can see any document that has been tampered with. We are actively putting together a list of those who have applied with fake documents and we will consult with the Ministry of Works and Housing on how to proceed with these applications and if the decision is to report it to the police, we will.”
“If we discover that you have presented fraudulent documents, it is likely that you will be prosecuted for fraud,” he said.
Acheampong warned the public against fabricating paperwork in order to qualify for the scheme.
He asked anyone interested in taking advantage of the scheme to submit the relevant documents, including evidence of income, employment, bank statement and Ghana Card.
Apart from the issue of fraud, which automatically disqualifies one from benefiting from the scheme, Acheampong stated that applicants’ salaries do not match the type of house they desire to rent.
“If your rent is GHC1000 and your salary is GHC1200, you will be left with only GHC200 after paying the rent; how will you survive?” So, we advise people to look for housing that is within their means; normally, it should be 30% of their take-home earnings, so that when you pay the rent, you have enough money for personal expenses,” he stated.
Acheampong, who is also the manager of Rent Masters, stated that the scheme has paid the rentals of over 600 households in four months.
“So far, Rent Masters’ have been able to pay for accommodation from one-bedroom self-contained apartments to three-bedroom apartments for over 600 people since the scheme was rolled out.”
He praised the accomplishment and encouraged other people to take advantage of the initiative.
The National Rent Assistance Scheme’s aim is to provide rent loans to both formal and informal workers that have a verifiable and regular income.
The applicant must be a Ghanaian, have a valid Ghana Card, be an adult of 18 years or older, have verified work and earned income, a verifiable bank statement or mobile money statement, and rent payable must not exceed 30%.