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Former CEO of defunct Beige Bank siphoned customers’ funds – Witness

 A Chartered Accountant with KPMG, Julius Ayivor, who is currently on secondment to the Office of the Receiver of the defunct Beige Bank Limited, has testified that reviews conducted into the affairs of the defunct financial institution, identified some sus­picious and unusual transactions.

Mr Ayivor, who is acting as the principal witness in the trial of the former Chief Exec­utive Officer (CEO) of defunct bank, Mike Nyinaku, said the transactions involved the siphoning of funds that had been deposited by customers of the defunct bank, by the former CEO to himself, and companies related to him.

The witness, in his witness statement, said the transactions caused the government to ‘settle’ the affected customers with taxpayers’ mon­ey, following the collapse of the bank.

Mr Ayivor noted that deposits of at least 10,000 customers of the defunct bank totalling GH¢449 million were siphoned out of the accounts of the customers to the account of Beige Capital Asset Management Limited (BCAM), a company that is said to be wholly owned by Nyinaku.

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Out of the GH¢449 million siphoned out of the accounts of the affected customers, he said, GH¢320 million were moved into a fictitious bank account opened in the name of one of the defunct Bank’s customers – First Africa Savings and Loans Limited (FASL), without the knowledge of FASL’s management.

The witness stated that the fic­titious bank account was opened in the name of FASL in March, 2018, on the instructions of Nyinaku, and a total of GH¢21 million was transferred out of the FASL account to the accounts of two individuals and 10 companies held with the defunct Bank on the instructions of Nyinaku.

He said nine out of the 10 com­panies that benefitted from the GH¢21 million transfer are owned by Nyinaku and named companies as Alberry Limited, DYI Limited, Legacy Pensions Trust Limited, Adelia Limited, Beige Academy, Beige Assur Limited, Beventure Limited, Beige Care Limited and Beige Capital Limited, all of which received amounts totalling GH¢18 million.

Mr Ayivor also stated that other deposits amounting to GH¢141 million deposited with the defunct bank by 23 customers, were siphoned out of the accounts of the customers, between 2016 and 2018, to the account of the Beige Group Limited, a company wholly owned by Nyinaku on his instruc­tions.

The witness said the defunct bank’s funds amounting to GH¢282 million were siphoned out of the bank on the instruc­tions of Nyinaku for his own benefit.

The former CEO stated that the amounts so siphoned were recorded in four other assets led­ger accounts in the defunct bank’s records – Director’s account, Shareholder’s account, Beige Group Account and Prepayments Project Works account.

Mr Ayivor cited three examples, out of the many transactions that amounted to the GH¢282 million siphoned.

In one of those examples, the witness reported that approval was given by Nyinaku for US$200,000 to be “released” from the Cash Management Unit of the defunct Bank to Nyinaku’s office in July 2017, for no work done.

The witness also noted that investments made by the defunct Bank with some eight financial institutions, totalling GH¢62 million were transferred to one of Nyinaku’s companies – The Beige Group Limited, on the instruc­tions of Nyinaku, on August 17, 2017.

During cross-examination by Thaddeus Sory, lawyer for Ny­inaku, the witness told the court that there was evidence to support the claim that the government, through its bailout package, “paid all 10,000+ customers whose fixed deposits were siphoned by Mike Nyinaku for his benefit and com­panies related to him.”

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