Witness in Beige Bank trial says customers’ funds were siphoned

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Customers’ funds were siphoned from their accounts into Beige Capital Asset Management (BCAM) and issued with misleading certificates, a prosecution witness has said.

He told the High Court hearing that matter that the transfers were done without the consent of the customers.
Mr Julius Ayivor, who was being cross examined at the ongoing trial of Mr Michael Nyinaku, the Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Beige bank, said funds were siphoned but customers were made to believe that they had been invested.

Asked how he got to know the customers did not know their funds were not invested, Mr Ayivor said the customers filed claims to indicate that they did not invest with BCAM.

He explained that the customers knew they were investing with Beige bank and not BCAM.

“One of the customers dealt with Beige bank and did not know of any Beige Capital. Funds were siphoned and were issued with misleading certificates,” he stressed.

Mr Ayivor said the address of the company that issued the certificates was displayed only to mislead them, adding that customers were misled to believe their funds were invested.

Mr Thaddeus Sory, Defense Counsel, asked whether he knew of an email from one Charles Odonkor on March 22, 2018, and Mr Ayivor answered yes.

“He wrote to Dauda and copied to the accused asking him how to handle those funds,” Mr Sory put it to him, and Mr Ayivor said Dauda was speaking to the accused person on how to handle the investment.

Lawyer: although exhibit 9 records the 95,000 credited to BCAM from Awuah’s account.
Witness: exhibit 9 does not have to record anything…95,000 compared to 159,000 debited from the account of BCAM, is huge and no financial institution will pay that amount

Lawyer: look at exhibit 9 and AB1, your testimony confirmed that there was a relationship between the bank and BCAM on this basis, customers funds were invested in BCAM account.

Witness: no relationship in connection with the funds siphoned, no agreement between BCAM and the bank, investment customers requested to be made were transferred to BCAM no board approval, in support of same”

Mr Sory reminded witness that in his testimony, he said funds at the bank upon accused persons instructions transferred or paid to accused or others related to him, and witness said, “that is so”.

In exhibit AE, there is an email dated July 17, 2017, AA1 written by one Duah Agyemang at 538pm to the accused person, found it? asked the lawyer and witness said that is so.

Lawyer “Mr Agyemang was seeking approval for the transfer of 200,000, correct?”
Witness, “he sought approval to release 200,000 dollars”.

Mr Sory asked “it is clear that the accused just approved, correct?
“Yes, it showed his approval and exhibit AA showed the movement of the money to the accused person’s office.” Mr Ayivor stated.

Lawyer: exhibit AA, has the name of the person who received the amount, the person who evacuated and witnessed the receipt does not say where it was?

Witness: My lady that is so, it indicated where the money was coming from and where it was going, exhibit A8 from cash management unit to COs office.

Lawyer: Exhibit AA is in two parts; one is a memo showing what was to be done in terms of the evacuation of the funds and second part is the acknowledgement.

“Not entirely so, first is memo, species among others, then acknowledgment by the receiving officer who acknowledged the receipt of the amount,” witness explained.

Mr Sory put it to the witness that the actual acknowledgement indicated the details of the evacuation and witness said “they are separate documents, but they are connected. Raphel Zelevu, receiving officer, acknowledged receipt of the 200,000 dollars.”

But Mr Sory said in the two documents, Raphel is not described as the receiver
and witness said, “Yes, but he was from the COs office”.

Pointing at an exhibit, the lawyer asked, “approval by David Sogbojor, is that correct?” and witness said, “that is so”.

“And there are two proposals from the writer, one for the movement of funds and second placement made by the banks,” the Lawyer asked.

Witness answered, “that is not so, first part David requested to move 16.6 million from Express Savings and Loans, in the second part, he proposed that investment about 45 million to be transferred to the Beige Group,”
Mr Michael Nyinaku is being tried over an alleged GHS1.2 billion theft.

He has denied stealing the money, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering and has been granted a GHC200 million bail.

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