UT Bank collapse: Court orders State to file relevant documents by June 22

An Accra High Court has ordered the State to file, by June 22, all the documents they intend to rely on in the matter of Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer of the defunct UT Bank Ghana and five others, whose alleged roles led to the collapse of the Bank.

The 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, UT Bank.

According to the Court, the State should also serve the documents filed on the Defence Team.

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

When the matter was called today, Frances Mullen Ansah, a Chief State Attorney, informed the Court that they were to return to court on June 23, but received notices that the time had been abridged to today.

The Court, after listening to the various submissions, adjourned the matter to Thursday, June 25.

The case of the Republic is that by an agreement dated November 1, 2013, the 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).

The Prosecution said as security for the facility, Lushann assigned the stock to UT Bank in furtherance to the supply of the product to Petraco.

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

According to the Prosecution, on January 14, 2014, however, 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.

It 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.

The 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.

It 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.

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

The Prosecution said investigations conducted in the course of the receivership of UT revealed that investments totalling 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.

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

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

Upon the recommendation of Amantu, Asiama approved an unsecured liquidity support facility of GH¢460 million, without following the prescribed mandatory statutory conditions, it 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¢45.8 million; Kofi Jobs Limited in the sum of GH¢46.9 million; and Holman Brothers Limited in the sum of GH¢48.5 million.

Also, it said, upon the recommendation of Amantu, Asiama without following the prescribed mandatory statutory conditions, gave approval for single Obligor Waiver in respect of the letters of Credit previously granted by UT to its customers.

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

Source: GNA

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