Witness shares fictitious deals in Beige Bank CEO’s trial

Michael Nyinaku
Michael Nyinaku

Mr Julius Ayivor, a witness in the ongoing trial of Michael Nyinaku, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct Beige Bank, has provided insights into the alleged fictitious deals of the accused person involving over GHS1.2 billion theft.

Mr Ayivor, a chartered accountant, on secondment from KPMG to the office of the receiver for Beige Bank since 2018, said he was a member of the receiver’s team.

In his witness statement he said when Beige Bank Limited’s license was revoked on August 1, 2018, it was placed in receivership and Nii Amanor Dodoo was appointed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) as receiver of Beige Bank.

He said his team was also responsible for the review of Beige Bank’s records among which were emails, financial statements, payment vouchers, meeting minutes and memos, adding that the team received profiles of the Bank and its companies.

Witness said the review identified siphoned transactions and unusual in nature done by Nyinaku, the accused person, including siphoning of depositors’ funds, yet unpaid.

Mr Ayivor said the Government had paid GHS2.1 billion to settle customers with the taxpayers’ money.

In 2020, Attorney General and Ministry of Justice requested for a report on the review such as transfer of deposits to fictitious accounts opened in the name of First African Savings and Loans Limited (FASL), transfer of deposits to Beige Capital Asset Management (BCAM) without customers’ consent, transfer of the Bank’s funds to the accused, shareholder and Managing Director of the Bank and companies related to him.

He explained that Beige Group, a limited liability was registered as a holding company owned by the accused person to offer managerial assistance to Beige Bank, BCAM, Legacy Pensions Fund Trust, Unique Life, Beige Care and Beige Assurance.

The witness said the entity was neither registered by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) nor the Securities Exchange Commission to engage in business of fund management.

The Court heard that when Beige Bank’s license was revoked, a fictitious bank account was opened in the name of FASL without the knowledge of FASL’s management and in a letter dated February 12, 2018, FASL requested for the change of the list of signatories for its regular bank account held with the Bank and named Madam Vannessa Akorfa Atsu and Madam Yvonne Phillips: officials of Beige Group as Group A signatories and Mrs Gifty Affenyi Dadzie and Mr Kwabena Osei-Bonsu, officials of FASL, as Group B signatories with two signatories, one from each group, mandated to sign cheques and other bank documents and correspondence with respect to the operation of the account.

On March 14, 2018, he said Vanessa sent an email to Susanna Phillips, an operations officer, to open additional account in the name of FASL and that was done without the board’s consent though the accused person was copied.

He said on October 26, 2017, minutes from the board of directors’ meeting showed that it authorised FASL’s two regular banks accounts to be opened, following the transfer of GHS320million of some customers’ fixed deposit to BCAM account without their consent.

The accused later approved the transfer of GHS21.12million from that account to two accounts of individuals and the companies held with the bank, nine of whom were related to Nyinaku, witness said.

He stated that proceeds of principal investment of GHS4 million owned by Mr Emmanuel Richard Ofori which were to be rolled over on maturity were siphoned from his accounts to BCAM, saying that in all, GHS320 million belonging to Mr Ofori and other customers were transferred to the fictitious FASL account.

He said deposit accounts were transferred to Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited and access to customers’ accounts were granted after validation, where a transfer request letter asked that GHS38,101,095.89 be moved from FASL to BCAM account without management’s permission thus, the request was declined when it was detected that the transaction was fake, and a report was made to the Police on August 8, 2018.

Witness said GHS281,882,953.37 deposits siphoned on Nyinaku’s order were recorded and on same day on his instructions GHS500,000.00 was transferred from Beige Bank’s account to his Stanbic Bank account and it was done ten days later.
One David Sogbojor in an email dated May 23, 2017, and copied Dawda Hafisdeen, Christian Ekow Aidoo and Stephen Duah Agyemang, requested for accused person’s approval for USD100,000 (GHS450,000.00) to be sent to Nyinaku’s office from the central vault unit.

He again sent GHS16,623,840.25 to the accused person from investment held by Biege with Essien Swiss, Express Savings and Loans as well as Account Financial Services to be transferred to Beige Group.

Sogbojor requested that investments by Royal Bank, UniBank, Stanbic Bank and U-Life totalling GHS45,043,631.00 should be transferred to Beige Group and the accused person agreed.

On July 17, 2017, Agyemang also requested that USD200,000 (GHS900,000.00) be sent to Nyinaku and he accepted.
The witness said a total of GHS61,667,471.25 being investment held by the Bank was transferred to Beige Group on Nyinaku’s instructions, later a sum of GHS218,365,482.12 was also transferred.

He said over 10,000 customers’ deposits were transferred from their accounts with Beige to BCAM on accused order.
As of August 1, 2018, accused had asked that GHS448,363,210.21 of the transfer made to BCAM that BCAM sent GHS320 million to the fictitious account.

Other deposits of 23 customers including Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Limited and Ernest and Barbs Real Estate Developers Limited valued GHS141, 042,348.92 was transferred from Beige Bank to BCAM, he added.
Witness said all the 23 were settled by government.

However, Mr Theoddius Sory, defence counsel, in objecting, said some of the statements were against the Evidence Act but Mrs Keelson from the Attorney General’s Department challenged his assertion, and it was overruled by the Court presided over by Mrs Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, an Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

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