The trial of two Bulgarians accused of cloning ATM cards and withdrawing money from the accounts of customers of some banks is being hampered because of the unavailability of a Bulgarian interpreter.
The trial of Pertev Nikolay Nedyalkov and Petar Petrov Yordanov started at the Accra Circuit Court in June 2016 but no meaningful progress has been made because the two Eastern Europeans claim not to understand English.
At last Wednesday’s hearing, the court, presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh, adjourned to September 14, 2016 owing to the absence of a Bulgarian interpreter to explain court proceedings to the accused persons.
Meanwhile, the legal team of the two has indicated its intention to petition the Attorney-General’s Department (AG) to expedite action on getting a Bulgarian interpreter.
Speaking to radioxyzonline after the court proceedings, lead counsel for the two, Mr Ali Dawud, said the inability of the state to get an interpreter was adversely affecting his clients.
“My clients must not suffer as a result of the ineffectiveness of the state machinery to provide an interpreter,” he said.
Nedyalkov and Yordanov are standing trial on eight charges which include conspiracy to commit crime, stealing, access to protected computer and unauthorised circumvention.
The rest are illegal devices, unauthorised access to a computer programme, unauthorised access to devices and general offence for fraudulent electronic fund transfer.
The alleged cloned ATM cards
The facts of the case, as presented by the prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr Abraham Annor, were that on June 6, 2016, a member of staff of the Prudential Bank alerted the bank to the unauthorised withdrawal of GH¢140 from his account.
On July 12, 2015, he said, the management of the bank petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police Service about complaints from its customers about a series of unauthorised ATM withdrawals.
“Checks from the CCTV footage revealed that a young white man on a motorbike had done that unauthorised withdrawal. About two hours later, Nedyalkov was spotted with his motorbike at the head office ATM. He was subsequently arrested and handed over to the police.
“A search on him revealed 24 suspected cloned ATM cards, four pink sheets with numbers on them suspected to be ATM pin codes, six ATM printout receipts and GH¢280. Investigations conducted revealed that Nedyalkov lived with Yordanov at East Legon,’’ he explained.
Mr Annor added that Yordanov bolted when the police visited his East Legon residence but investigations led to his arrest at a hideout at Dzorwulu near Accra.