UT Bank collapse: Amoabeng, others plead not guilty to Financial crimes

Prince Kofi Amoabeng

The former Managing Director of the defunct UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, the former second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Johnson Pandit Asiama and four others have pleaded not guilty to all forty-two (42) counts of financial misappropriation levelled against them by the State.

All six accused persons pleaded not guilty after the forty-two counts levelled against them were read out in Court to their hearing as they apply to them individually. The Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo subsequently read out the facts of the case which has necessitated the action taken against the six accused persons by the State.

The lead lawyer for the former 2nd Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana and the first Accused person in the matter, Simon Animley, Holding the brief of Fred Dotse, moved his application for bail for his client.

Addo Atuah, the lawyer for the former CEO of UT Bank Prince Kofi Amoabeng, the 4th Accused person, and all the other defence lawyers also applied for bail for their respective clients as required by law.

By Court

Justice Bright Mensah, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, admitted the 1st accused persons to self recognizance bail in the sum of 60 million Ghana Cedis. 2nd, 3rd and 4th Accused persons were admitted to bail in the sum of 60 million Ghana Cedis with three sureties, two of whom must be justified. The 5th Accused person was admitted to bail in the sum of 20 million Ghana Cedis with two sureties.

The 6th Accused person was admitted to bail in the sum of 60 million Ghana Cedis with three sureties, two of whom must be justified. The sureties are to deposit their title deeds to the registrar of the Court and the Accused persons are to surrender their passports to the registrar of the Court and will be entitled to it upon an application to the Court if there is a need for them to travel outside the jurisdiction. The Court Adjourned sitting to the 26th of March 2020.

According to the Charge Sheet signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Yvonne Atakora Obuabisa and filed at the Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra on the 5th of February 2020, the accused persons/ entities were named as follows; Dr. Johnson Pandit Asiama, Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Raymond Amanfu, UT Holdings Ltd, Catherine Johnson, and Robert Kwesi Armah.

Facts of the Case

According to the Facts Sheet as filed by the Attorney General, “Johnson Pandit Asiama, the 1st accused person, was the 2nd Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) between May 2016 and December 2017. Raymond Amanfu, the 2nd accused person, was the Head of Banking Supervision Department (BSD) at BOG from 2014 to October 2017. UT Holdings Limited (UT Holdings), the 3rd accused person, is a holding company which held shares in UT Bank Ghana Limited (UT).

Prince Kofi Amoabeng, the 4th accused person, was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UT from its inception in 2009 until his retirement on 31st December 2015 and is a shareholder and director of UT Holdings.

Catherine Johnson, the 5th accused person, was the Head of Treasury who had also acted as the Head of Corporate Banking of UT. Robert Kwesi Armah, the 6th accused person, was the General Manager of Corporate Banking of UT”.

“By an Agreement dated 1st November 2013, UT granted a credit facility of $15 million to Lushann International Energy Ghana Ltd (Lushann) for the purchase of crude oil to be supplied to Petraco Oil Company (Petraco) by Lushann. As security for the facility, Lushann assigned the stock to UT. In furtherance of the supply of the crude oil to Petraco, Lushann chartered a vessel called Olympic Faith owned by Melville Enterprises SA (Melville), a Liberian company which was contracted by Lushann to receive the crude oil for onward delivery to Petraco”.

The Facts Sheet further noted, “On 14th January 2014, Melville issued a Writ of Summons out of the Registry of the High Court, Accra, against Lushann claiming the sum of $6,775,269.90 as unpaid fees for the charter of Olympic Faith. UT applied to join the suit as an interested party to contest Melville’s claim to the cargo under a Stock Assignment Agreement.

By an order dated 27th January 2014, the High Court directed that the cargo be sold and $7million out of the proceeds deposited in an escrow account with UT in the name of the Registrar of the High Court at an interest rate of 2% per annum pending the final determination of the matter”.

“A letter dated 21st February 2014 addressed to the Registrar of the High Court and under the hands of the 4th accused person and Gwendy Miranda Bannerman, the Head of the Legal Department of UT, confirmed the opening of the account and the payment of the sum of $7 million into the account as ordered by the Court. Subsequently, UT submitted to the Registrar a statement of account and purported details of a call investment signed by the 5th and 6th accused persons and one Stephen Azumah which turned out to be false.”

“Investigations,” the Facts Sheet indicates, “revealed that even though the 4th, 5th and 6th accused persons knew there was no money in the account, they deliberately persisted in submitting false statements to the Registrar.

On 14th August 2017, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) revoked the operating licence of UT for violating banking laws and subsequently went into receivership. Investigations conducted in the course of the receivership of UT revealed that investments totalling GH₵ 51,334,387.08 and $8,799,917 placed with UT by some 15 companies, had been transferred to UT Holdings, by UT without the knowledge and or consent of the companies.”

“It was established that UT Holdings did not have a licence to take deposits and investments.

By a letter dated 28th April 2016, UT requested additional liquidity support in the sum of GH₵650 million from BoG. Upon the recommendation of the 2nd accused person, the 1st accused person approved an unsecured liquidity support facility of GH₵460 million without following prescribed mandatory statutory conditions. No payment was made for the facility.

By the same letter, UT also requested a waiver of single obligor limits for Letters of Credit in respect of MBG Limited in the sum of GH₵45.8 million, Kofi Jobs Limited in the sum of GH₵46.9 million and Holman Brothers Limited in the sum of GH₵48.5 million”.

“Again, upon the recommendation of the 2nd accused person, the 1st accused person, without following prescribed mandatory statutory conditions, gave approval for single obligor waiver in respect of Letters of Credit previously granted by UT to its customers as follows: MBG Limited in the sum of GH₵45.7 million, Kofi Jobs Limited in the sum of GH₵46.91 million, Holman Brothers Limited GH₵48.48 Million out of the BoG liquidity support of GH₵460 million, GH₵413.09 million remains due to BoG.”

“Based on these facts, the accused persons have been arraigned before this court for trial,” the Facts Sheet ended.

Legal Representation

The State was represented by Miss Gloria Afua Akuffo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Yvonne Atakora Obuabisa, Director of Public Prosecution, Stella Ohene Appiah, Winifred Sarpong, and Richard Gyembibi, Principal State Attorneys, Hilda Craig and Penninah Danquah, Senior State Attorneys.

The accused persons were represented as follows, Simon Animley, Holding the brief of Fred Dotse, for the 1st Accused person, Benjamin Kwesi Sackey for the 2nd Accused person, Frank Asamoah for UT Holdings Limited, 3rd Accused person, Addo Atuah, for the 4th Accused person, Nicol-Marie Poku for 5th Accused person and the 6th Accused person was represented by Vincent Frank Akins.

 

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM

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