BusinessPolitics

UT, Beige Bosses In Court Over GH¢441m Fraud

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, has been dragged before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly stealing and laundering over GH¢100 million from the bank which is currently in receivership.

The embattled CEO is said to have stolen GH¢51,334,338.08 and another $8,612,829.33 from the bank between 2009 and 2017.

Mr. Amoabeng and the CEO of The Beige Group, Michael Nyinaku, in a separate case, are said to have stolen over GH¢441 million from UT Bank and Beige Group.

Mr. Amoabeng was finally put before the court following investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Special Investigations Taskforce (STI) spanning almost two years.

According to the investigations, the STI had received a report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers through the Governor of the Bank of Ghana on suspicious transactions related to UT Bank.

UT Bank is said to have, among other things, engaged in some off-balance-sheet transactions log and issuing investment certificates to investors in the name of the bank. However, the amount totaling GH¢51,334,338.08 and another $8,612,829.33 were later transferred to UT Holdings, another company owned by Mr. Amoabeng.

According to investigations, Mr. Amoabeng, who was then the CEO of UT Bank, signed most of the customers’ investment certificates and subsequently transferred those to UT Holdings.

Mr. Amoabeng has been charged with two counts of stealing and money laundering and he has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Bail

His lawyer, Addo Attuah, pleaded with the court to grant him bail, saying he was granted police inquiry bail since he was under investigation by EOCO and STI.

The lawyer averred that the facts, as presented, were legitimate banking transactions and they would at the right time prove those.

He said the accused person would appear for trial when granting bail and would not in any way interfere with prosecution witnesses.

The prosecution led by ASP Emmanuel Nyamekye did not oppose the application for bail but pleaded with the court to order the accused to deposit his passport with the court registrar and be made to report to the police every Monday and Friday.

The court, presided over by Emmanuel Essandoh, granted Mr. Amoabeng bail of GH¢110 million with two sureties, who must be public servants earning not less than GH¢2,000 a month.

The case continues on January 22, 2020.

Beige Bank

Meanwhile, the CEO of The Beige Group, Michael Nyinaku, has also been remanded in prison custody for stealing over GH¢340 million from the group together with some eight other persons.

Investigations, according to the fact sheet, revealed that Beige Group, a subsidiary entity of Beige Bank, during the latter part of 2017, had agreed with the leadership of First African Savings and Loans (FASL) to acquire 90 percent equity shares in the savings and loans entity at the cost of $2.2 million.

The Beige Group is said to have eventually paid GH¢9 million as part payment of the equity shares intended to be purchased and the two companies agreed that a letter is sent to the Bank of Ghana to regularize the agreement.

FASL was subsequently made to open an account with The Beige Bank as a subsidiary and at the time the bank went into receivership, FASL account with the bank was said to have an amount of GH¢12 million in it.

Investigations acceding to the facts of the case reveal that unknown to the authorities of FASL, TBG secretly opened a second account which had an outstanding balance of GH¢229 million at the time it went into receivership.

The account is said to have been opened by Susannah Philips and had suspects Vanessa Akorfa Atsu, Yvonne Philips and Yiadom Boakye Augustine, all from The Beige Group, as signatories although the account was opened in the name of FASL.

The account, according to investigations, had funds close to GH¢340.94 million in it as initial capital but some of the monies were transferred to affiliate entities of The Beige Group including Beige Capital, Beige Care, Beige Academy, Beige Assure, Beventure, and some individuals.

The withdrawals are said to be at the behest of Michael Nyinaku through suspects Yvonne Nana Etruba Philips and Yiadom Boakye Augustine who co-signed the documents instructing the transfer of funds to the beneficiaries.

The facts of the case indicate that one such request was made to the Consolidated Bank Ghana on August 8, 2018, for the transfer of GH¢38,101,0995.89 from the FASL account into Beige Capital Asset Management Limited account.

The management of FASL was informed about the transfer and it denied having such an amount in the company’s account.

It was at that point that they realized a second account was opened in the name of FASL on the blind side of its management.

The accused, Michael Nyinaku, through his lawyer Baffuor Gyawu Bonsu, applied for bail but he was denied it. The presiding judge, Emmanuel Essandoh, said the case was still under investigation.

Mr. Nyinaku has been remanded to reappear on January 22, 2020.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak|DGN Online

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