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Beige Bank was a cash cow — Witness

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

Another prosecution witness in the trial of the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the erstwhile Beige Bank, Mike Nyinaku, will on Monday, April 17, 2023, mount the witness box to testify at the high court.

That comes after the first prosecution witness, Julius Ayivor, winded up his testimony at the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe on Monday, April 3.

Cash cow

In his summary, Mr Ayivor alleged that the Beige Bank was turned into a “Cash Cow” where depositors’ funds were siphoned by Nyinaku and his many companies, including The Beige Group Limited.

The proceedings centred on one of the prosecution’s case involving a total of GH¢141 million allegedly siphoned out of the accounts of 23 customers of the defunct Beige Bank on the instructions of the accused person.

The funds, according to the witness, were allegedly siphoned to The Beige Group Limited, a company wholly owned by the accused person.

Two customers Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Limited and Ernest & Barbs Construction Limited were cited in Mr Ayivor’s witness statement as a sample of the 23 affected customers.

In the case of Ernest & Barbs, the witness alleged the siphoning of GH¢17 million from Ernest & Barbs’ account in January 2018, while an amount of GH¢20 million was siphoned from Tobinco’s account in March 2018, all to the benefit of the accused person and his company, The Beige Group Limited.

Consent

During cross-examination of the witness, counsel for Nyinaku, Thaddeus Sory, suggested that the evidence provided by the prosecution indicated that the customers whose funds were allegedly siphoned from their accounts knew that their funds were being transferred to The Beige Group Limited and also indeed sanctioned the transfers.

Mr Sory asked, “As the Receiver who investigated, did you find out if those customers were specifically targeted or there was a special reason why their deposits was a subject of the transfers to The Beige Group Limited?”

Mr Ayivor answered, “I do not know if they [the affected customers] were specifically targeted or whether there was a special reason that necessitated the siphoning of their funds.

“What is apparent from the grand scheme that was perpetrated by the accused person is that once he noted that the customers had a lot of funds in their account, that became an opportunity for the accused person to oversee the siphoning of those funds to himself and his companies,” the witness said.

Mr Sory then put to the witness that the only reason the customers had their funds transferred to The Beige Group Limited was because they sanctioned those transfers.

Mr Ayivor, who disagreed with that suggestion, answered “My Lady, that is a blatant untruth.

First of all, The Beige Group Limited, which is a company limited by liability, is not licensed to take deposits, neither is it licensed to operate the business of banking and fund management.

“So, there is no way that any of the affected customers would have sanctioned the siphoning of their funds to The Beige Group Limited.

“The Beige Group Limited is just a holding company with the responsibility of supervising companies owned by the accused person and The Beige Group Limited had no power and authority to take deposits”.

Mr Sory then quizzed, “Are you aware that The Beige Group Limited sourced funds from various sources, including the bank and from its business to support the bank’s payment of interest to those customers?”.

The witness answered, “I am not aware.

All I know is that The Beige Group Limited, under the supervision of Mike Nyinaku, turned the bank into a cash cow where funds placed by customers were siphoned to The Beige Group Limited and the accused person at will”.

Bank statement

Mr Sory further referred the witness to the bank account statement of The Beige Group Limited, which had been tendered in evidence by the prosecution and marked as Exhibit AD2.

Counsel cited instances in the statement of funds being paid out to some of the affected customers, including Tobinco and Ernest & Barbs. 
Mr Sory drew the court’s attention to two transfers of GH¢473,000 each, made from the account of The Beige Group and described as “Funds transfer from BG to Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Ltd”.

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Mr Sory, who also tendered through the witness, copies of cheques issued by The Beige Group Limited to Ernest & Barbs and signed by Mike Nyinaku, which were cleared on the account of The Beige Group, put to the witness that his testimony confirmed that Tobinco and Ernest & Barbs received payments directly from the Beige Group account, all of which represent interest on their investment and confirmed that the customers knew they were dealing with the Beige Group. 

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