Witness in Beige-Bank trial denies approving funds

A former Finance Manager of the defunct Beige Bank, Stephen Duah Agyemang, has denied approving funds transfer during his tenure of office.

The third prosecution’s witness (PW3) said that he was not responsible for approval of funds.

He explained that he reviewed, checked and prepared vouchers for payment that had been approved by Michael Nyinaku, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Beige Bank Group.

Mr Duah Agyeman made the disclosure during a cross-examination at the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, a court of Appeal Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

In the cross-examination by Mr Thaddeus Sory, defence counsel for Nyinaku, the witness said once the CEO gave his approval, payment was authorised by the Finance Department, which he headed.

Mr Duah Agyemang explained that once the CEO approved payments, he was satisfied and did not make any further queries.

The witness said that the former CEO of Beige was responsible for payment of everything, but all such payments must start from the preparation of vouchers.

Mr Sory asked the witness whether in terms of authority to make payments, there were various authorities in the process and the payment vouchers were prepared by him (Duah Agyemang).

When questioned about the cost to be incurred because of the transition of Beige Savings and Loans to a Universal Bank, the witness said he had no idea.

The question was about certain approvals of payments bearing the name and signature of the witness.

Mr Sory said Nyinaku, accused, had allegedly informed others, including Mr Duah Agyemang of the intended expansion of the Saving and Loans, to reflect its status of a universal entity.

The lawyer said accused corresponded with the witness and others through emails.

Mr Sory put it to Mr Agyemang Duah that his client made it clear in the email that some expenses had to be incurred in respect of the project and the witness answered yes.

Led by Madam Stella Ohene Appiah, Principal State Attorney, the witness read part of his statement to the police.

The statement read: “my role was to review all payments. Authority to make payment emanates from the CEO who normally communicate via email. No payment was made without personal feedback.”

Prosecution:  “You have stated you will identify the various payment vouchers signed off by you with their supporting documents, look through the exhibit A and do the identification to the court.

Witness: “I can identify the ones with my name.”

“PW1 and 12 is payment in favour of Kwame Mensah dated on the August 9, 2016 and it was signed by me prepared for the payment,” he said.

“PW12 is a payment for property in favour of Kwame Mensah Bonsu. I have the contract documents which are also attached to the payment and signature in respect of Kpatsa property at Airport West. That one too, I have email supporting and approving to make payments on April 1, 2016. 

Nyinaku, standing trial on 43 counts of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering, involving the siphoning of a total of GH¢1.2 billion from the defunct Beige Bank between 2015 and 2018, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. -GNA

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