Amoabeng and five others plead not guilty to charges

Kofi Amoabeng

Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer of defunct UT Bank Ghana and five others whose alleged roles led to the collapse of the bank have appeared before an Accra High Court (Commercial Division).

The other five are Johnson Pandit Asiama, former Second Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana (BoG), who is the first accused, Raymond Amantu Head of Banking Supervision Department (BSD) at BOG, UT Holdings Limited which had shares in UT Bank Ghana, Catherine Johnson, Head of Treasury and Robert Kwesi Armah, General Manager of Corporate Banking of UT Bank.

The accused have been variously charged with 42 counts of willfully causing financial loss, abetment of crime, Contravention of the bank of Ghana Act, fraudulently causing financial loss to the Republic, Fraudulent breach of Trust, Deceit of public officer and fabrication of evidence.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail with various terms of condition.

Asiamah was granted to a self-recognizance bail.

Catherine Johnson was admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢20 million with two sureties, each of the sureties is to be justified.

Amoabeng and Armah were admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢60 million with two sureties, each of the sureties is to be justified.

The Court presided over by Mr. Justice Samuel Asiedu, a Court of Appeal Judge Sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, ordered the accused to deposit their Passports to the Court’s Registry.

Accused persons are expected to reappear on February 26

Lawyers of the accused took turns to make submissions for bail for their clients.

The case of the Republic led by Ms. Gloria A. Akuffo, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (AG) is that by an agreement dated November 1, 2013, UT Bank granted a credit facility of $15 million  to Lushann International Energy Ghana Limited (Lushann) for the purchase of crude oil to be supplied to Petraco Oil Company (Petraco) by Lushann.

The Ag said as security for the facility, Lushann assigned the stock to UT bank in furtherance to the supply of the crude oil to Petraco.

She said Lushann chartered a vessel call Olympic Faith owned by Melville Enterprises SA (Melville), a Liberian Company to receive the crude oil for onward delivery to Petraco.

Ms Akuffo said on January 14, 2014, Melville issued a writ of summons out of the registry of the High Court, Accra, against Lushann claiming the sum of $6,775,269.90 as unpaid fees for the charter of Olympic Faith.

Prosecution said UT Bank applied to join the suit as an interested party to contest Melville’s claim to the cargo under a Stock Assignment Agreement.

According to the prosecution, by an order dated January 27, 2017, the High Court directed that the cargo be sold and $7 million out of the proceeds deposited in an Escrow Account with UT Bank in the name of the Registrar of the High Court at an interest rate of two per cent per annum pending the final determination of the matter.

Prosecution said a letter dated February 21, 2014 addressed to the High Court and under the hand of Amoabeng and Wendy Miranda Bannerman, the Head of the Legal Department of UT Bank, confirmed the opening of the account and the payment of the sum of $7 million into the account as ordered by the Court.

Prosecution said subsequently, UT Bank submitted to the Registrar a statement of account and purported details of a call investment signed by Johnson and Armah and one Stephen Azumah which turned out to be false.

According to prosecution, investigations revealed that even though Amoabeng, Johnson and Armah knew that there was no money in the account they deliberately persisted in submitting false statements to the Registrar.

Prosecution said on August 14, 2017, the BOG revoked the operating license of UT for violating banking laws and subsequently went into receivership.

Ms Akuffo said investigations conducted in the course of the receivership of UT revealed that investments totaling GH¢51, 334,387.08 and $8,799,917 placed with UT by some 15 companies had been transferred to UT Holdings by UT without the knowledge or consent of the companies.

Prosecution said it was established that UT holdings did not have the license to take deposits and investments.

By a Letter, Prosecution said, dated April 28, 2016, UT requested additional liquidity support in the sum of GH¢650-million from BoG.

Prosecution said upon the recommendation of Amantu, Asiamah approved an unsecured liquidity support facility of GH¢460 million without following prescribed mandatory statutory conditions.

Prosecution said no payment was made for the facility and by the same letter, UT Bank also requested a waiver of single obligor Limits for letters of credit in respect of MBG Limited in the sum of GH¢45.8million, Kofi Jobs Limited in the sum of GH¢46.9million and Holman Brothers Limited in the sum of GH¢48.5 million.

Again, prosecution said, upon the recommendation of Amantu, Asiamah without following prescribed mandatory statutory conditions, gave approval for single Obligor Waiver in respect of the letters of Credit previously granted by UT to its customers as follows:

The prosecution said out of the BoG Liquidity Support of GH¢460 million, GH¢413.09 million remains due to BoG.

Source: GNA

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