Document: Dr. Duffour, his son, former Deputy BoG Governor lined up over GH₵5.7bn uniBank cash
The Attorney-General has lined up nine former top banking officials, charging them with criminal offences ranging from money laundering to causing financial loss to the state.
High up on the list are a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Johnson Pandit Asiama; the Founder of uniBank, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, and his son, Kwabena Duffuor Jnr.
The accused persons played various roles in the disbursement of liquidity support from the Bank of Ghana to uniBank, which is now defunct.
This is where Dr. Asiama, the only ex-BoG official on trial, comes into the picture.
Dr. Asiama, appointed in April 2016, left in December 2017 after pressure from the New Patriotic Party government which took office in January 2017.
According to the facts of the case, Dr. Asiama “in or about September 2016, in Accra in the Greater Accra Region, granted a facility in the sum of GH₵300 million to Universal Merchant Bank for the benefit of uniBank Ghana Limited without satisfying the prescribed conditions set out in the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612).”
For this, he has been charged with willfully causing financial loss of GH₵150 million to the state.
Kwabena Duffour Jnr, who took over uniBank from his father Dr. Duffour, has been charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit crime, namely fraudulent breach of trust.
According to the particulars of offence, Kwabena Duffuor II and Ekow Nyarko Dadzie-Dennis, in 2014, agreed to act together with “a common purpose to dishonestly appropriate the sum of GH¢48,269,477.75, which was entrusted to [them] in trust for depositors of uniBank Ghana Limited.”
The two, in 2015, also “agreed to act together with a common purpose to dishonestly appropriate the sum of GH¢164,051,706.14, which was entrusted to you in trust for depositors of uniBank Ghana Limited”
Dr. Asiama pleaded not guilty to the charge as did the eight others, including former uniBank officials; Ekow Nyarko Dadzie-Dennis, Elsie Dansoa Kyereh, Jeffrey Amon, Benjamin Ofori, and Kwadwo Opoku Okoh.
The Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, was in court Wednesday to begin the trial of officials and bank executives blamed for the banking sector crises. The banking crises resulted in the collapse of nine indigenous banks.
Ms. Akuffo said the accused persons created a system to have access to uniBank depositors’ funds and write them off in the books as a deferred expenditure account.
Some GH₵5.7bn is owed uniBank shareholders, the A-G said.
But Dr. Dominic Ayine, who is counsel for Dr. Kwabena Duffour, a former Finance Minister, expressed disgust at the charges against his client.
He called the charges “clearly misconceived” and said they “have no basis in law” because when a depositor’s money is mismanaged, it does not constitute a crime.
It should be a civil action between the bank and depositor, JoyNews’ Joseph Ackah-Blay reported Dr. Ayine’s arguments.