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Bogus NCC Cheques Blocked By Banks

By Terry Joseph
April 08, 2002

A number of cheques belonging to the National Carnival Commission (NCC) have been duplicated and the required signatures forged, although thieves who went through the trouble later discovered the counterfeit documents were worthless.

In another scenario, some $4,000 in cash was spirited away from the Commission’s vault, leaving no evidence of forced entry; the fourth such incident at the NCC’s Savannah offices over the past three years.

Deputy chairman and head of the NCC’s finance committee, Ainsworth Mohammed yesterday confirmed the robbery and attempted fraud had taken place. “The outright theft of cash does look like an inside job,” Mohammed said, adding steps had already been taken to avoid the possibility of recurrence.

“What the counterfeiters did with the cheques was remove them from the office and scan them to produce computer-generated images that were close enough to the bona fide documents,” Mohammed said. “They then forged the signatures and attempted to cash them, only to discover the bank rejected all.

“We still have the original cheques and have lost no money by that unlawful transaction,” Mohammed said, “but there too we have instituted tighter controls over such documents.”

Although it is the first occasion for the current NCC Board, thefts at its offices have occurred at least once per year since the Commission moved to the Queen’s Park Savannah.

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