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Dr Duffour, son, 7 others granted GH¢60 million bail

Dr Kwabena Duffour, a former Minister of Finance, and a shareholder of defunct Unibank, his son, Kwabena Duffour II, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and six others were yesterday granted GH¢60 million bail with three sureties each, by an Accra high court.

The accused, charged with conspiracy to commit crime, fraud, money laundering, which led to the collapse of the bank, in 2017, have been asked by Justice Philip Bright Mensah to deposit their passports with the clerk and notify the court when they need it.

The others are HODA Holdings Limited, Johnson Pandit  Asiama, the former Deputy BoG, Ekow Nyarko Dadzie-Dennis, the Chief Operating Officer of the bank, Elsie Dansoa Kyereh, Executive Head of Corporate Banking, Jeffrey Amon, Senior Relationship Manager,  Benjamin Ofori, Executive Head of Credit Control  and Kwadwo Opoku Okoh, Financial Control Manager.

Miss Gloria Akuffo, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, prosecuting, said between January 2014 and February 2018, Dr  Duffuor and HODA Holdings Limited dishonestly received more than GH¢663,283,917.19 through subsidiaries of HODA Holdings Limited  out of customer deposits with uniBank that were dishonestly transferred and recorded in the Deferred Expenditure Account ( DEA).

She told the court that it was also discovered that in April 2016, GH¢35million was dishonestly paid from uniBank funds to Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL) for the purchase of shares in GOIL for the benefit of Starmount Development Company Limited (Starmount), a related party.

The amount of GH¢35 million, the Attorney-General said was also posted to the DEA at the instance of Kwabena Duffour II and Mr Dadzie-Dennis.

She said that  between November 2015 and September 2017, at the instance of  Duffour II and Mr Dadzie-Dennis, various dishonest payments amounting to GH¢74 million were made by uniBank to fund a commercial printing and label manufacturing company, uniPrecision Printing and Packaging Company Limited (uniPrecision), also a subsidiary of HODA.

According to Miss Akuffo  UniBank failed to recover these funds from uniPrecision and that between December 2015 and June 2016, uniBank applied for various liquidity support of GH¢200 million, GH¢350 million and GH¢450 million from BoG out of which only GH¢150 million was paid leaving an overdue amount of GH¢850 million excluding interest.

 She said whilst still in default in the repayment of the BoG liquidity support of GH¢850 million, uniBank borrowed several amounts through overnight interbank borrowings.

In September, 2016, Miss Akuffo noted that though Mr Asiama was aware that uniBank was in a poor liquidity state and still in default of repayments due BoG, the accused contrived a scheme and gave approval for the disbursement of a GH¢300 million unsecured facility to Universal Merchant Bank Limited (UMB) for the benefit of uniBank without following prescribed mandatory statutory conditions. GH¢150 million of the facility remains unpaid.

She said on December 5,  2016, uniBank borrowed GH¢400 million from BoG as overnight borrowing in addition to other borrowings from the interbank market and  despite its weak liquidity position, uniBank, at the instance of the Duffour II and Dadzie Dennis dishonestly transferred a total of about GH¢325 million through UMB as payment for 51 per cent  adb shares, in the names of Belstar Capital Limited (Belstar), Starmount, SIC Financial Services Limited (SIC-FSL), EDC Investments Limited (EDC), Oscar Yao Doe and Mark Blewunyo Cofie.

The court heard that the balance of the outstanding GH¢850 million liquidity support from BOG was still due at the time uniBank transferred the amount of GH¢325 million funds to purchase the adb shares which compelled BOG to nullify the purchase of the shares.

The second component of GH¢2 billion due to uniBank by shareholders included 31 fictitious loans amounting to over GH¢1billion created at the instance of  Duffour II, Dadzie-Dennis, Mrs Kyereh , Mr Amon and  Mr Ofori.

Miss Akuffo said that investigations revealed that none of the customers in whose names the fictitious loans were created applied for, received nor were granted any loan facility by the bank.

She said as a result of the dishonest conduct of Duffour II, Dadzie-Dennis, Mrs Kyereh , Mr Amon and  Mr Ofori, the outstanding balance due to the bank on the DEA was dishonestly excluded from uniBank’s assets in its prudential returns to BoG and its annual financial statements thereby misreporting its true state of affairs to the regulatory authorities and users of its financial statements.

On June 6, 2016, Miss Akuffo said that Duffour II dishonestly authorised the establishment of a Letter of Credit (LC) by uniBank in the sum of $12.5 million for the benefit of uniPrecision for the purchase of equipment, however investigations revealed that no equipment was purchased.

She said payments in respect of the LC were made by uniBank to Ecobank, Paris. The total amount paid in that transaction was about $13.5 million inclusive of interest.

The court heard that Duffour II, Dadzie-Dennis and Mr Okoh, acting in concert between November 2013 and February 2014, dishonestly appropriated about $9.5 million, ostensibly for the purchase of shares in WAICA-Re in the names of Telemedia Communications (Telemedia), Crown Insurance Brokers (Crown Insurance), uniCredit Ghana Limited (uniCredit), HODA, uniBank, uniSecurities Ghana Limited (uniSecurities) and Kwabena Duffuor.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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