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Beige Bank case: Witness gives evidence on ‘fictitious deals’

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct Beige Bank – Mike Nyinaku

Julius Ayivor, a witness in the ongoing trial of Michael Nyinaku, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct Beige Bank, has provided insights into the alleged fictitious deals of the accused person involving over GHS1.2 billion theft.

Mr Ayivor, a chartered accountant, on secondment from KPMG to the office of the receiver for Beige Bank since 2018, said he was a member of the receiver’s team.

In his witness statement, he said when Beige Bank Limited’s license was revoked on August 1, 2018, it was placed in receivership and Nii Amanor Dodoo was appointed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) as receiver of Beige Bank.

He said his team was also responsible for the review of Beige Bank’s records among which were emails, financial statements, payment vouchers, meeting minutes and memos, adding that the team received profiles of the Bank and its companies.

Witness said the review identified siphoned transactions and unusual in nature done by Nyinaku, the accused person, including siphoning of depositors’ funds, yet unpaid.

Mr Ayivor said the Government had paid GHS2.1 billion to settle customers with the taxpayers’ money.

In 2020, Attorney General and Ministry of Justice requested a report on the review such as transfer of deposits to fictitious accounts opened in the name of First African Savings and Loans Limited (FASL), transfer of deposits to Beige CapitalAsset Management (SCAM) without customers consent, transfer of the Bank’s funds to the accused, shareholder and Managing Director of the Bank and companies related to him.

He explained that Beige Group, a limited liability was registered as a holding company owned by the accused person to offer managerial assistance to Beige Bank, BCAM, Legacy Pensions Fund Trust, Unique Life, Beige Care and Beige Assurance.

The witness said the entity was neither registered by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) nor the Securities Exchange Commission to engage in the business of fund management.

The Court heard that when Beige Bank’s license was revoked, a fictitious bank account was opened in the name of FASL without the knowledge of FASL’s management and in a letter dated February 12, 2018.

FASL requested for the change of the list of signatories for its regular bank account held with the Bank and named Madam Vannessa Akorfa Atsu and Madam Yvonne Phillips officials of Beige Group as Group A signatories and Mrs Gilly AffenyiDadzie and Mr Kwabena Osei-Bonsu, officials of FASL, as Group B signatories with two signatories, one from each group, mandated to sign cheques and other bank documents and correspondence with respect to the operation of the account.

On March 14, 2018, he said Vanessa sent an email to Susanna Phillips, an operations officer, to open additional account in the name of FASL and that was done without the board’s consent though the accused person was copied.

He said on October 26, 2017, minutes from the board of directors’ meeting showed that unauthorised FAS L’s two regular bank accounts were to be opened, following the transfer of GHS320 million of some customers’ fixed deposit to BCAM account without their consent.

The accused later approved the transfer of GHS21.12 million from that account to two accounts of individuals and companies held with the bank, nine of whom were related to Nyinaku, the witness said.

He stated that proceeds of principal investment of GHS4 million owned by Mr Emmanuel Richard Ofori which were to be rolled over on maturity were siphoned from his accounts to BCAM, saying that in all, GHS320 million belonging to Mr Ofori and other customers were transferred to the fictitious FASL account.

He said deposit accounts were transferred to Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited and access to customers’ accounts were granted after validation, where a transfer request letter asked that GHS38,101,095.89 be moved from FASL to BCAM account without management’s permission thus, the request was declined when it was detected that the transaction was
fake and a report was made to the Police on August 8, 2018.

Witness said GHS281,882,953.37 deposits siphoned on Nyinaku’s order were recorded and on same day on his instructions, GHSS00,000.00 was transferred from Beige Bank’s account to his Stanbic Bank account and it was done ten days later

One David SogboJor in an email dated May 23, 2017, and copied to Dawda Hafisdeen, Christian Ekow Aidoo and Stephen DuahAgyemang, requested for accused person’s approval for USD100,000 (GHS450,000.00) to be sent to Nyinaku’s office from the central vault unit

He again sent GHS16,623,840.25 to the accused person from investment held by Siege with Essien Swiss, Express Savings and Loans as well as Account Financial Services to be transferred to Beige Group.

Sogbojor requested that investments by Royal Bank, UniBank, Stanbic Bank and U-Life totalling GHS45,043,631 00 should be transferred to Beige Group and the accused person agreed.

On July 17, 2017, Agyemang also requested that USD200,000 (GHS900,000 00) be sent to Nyinaku and he accepted

The witness said a total of GHS61,667,471.25 being investment held by the Bank was transferred to Beige Group on Nyinaku’s instructions, later a sum of GHS218,365,482 .12 was also transferred.

He said over 10,000 customers’ deposits were transferred from their accounts with Beige to SCAM on accused order.

As of August 1, 2018, accused had asked that GHS448,363,210.21 of the transfer made to SCAM that SCAM sent GHS320 million to the fictitious account

Other deposits of 23 customers including Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Limited and Ernest and Barbs Real Estate Developers Limited valued at GHS141,042,348.92 transferred from Beige Bank to SCAM, he added.

Witness said all 23 were settled by government.

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However, Mr Theoddius Sory, defence counsel, in objecting, said some of the statements were against the Evidence Act but Mrs Keelson from the Attorney General’s Department challenged his assertion, and it was overruled by the Court presided over by Mrs Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, an appeal court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

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