DUFFUOR AND CHILDREN HOT AS UNIBANK SUES THEM OVER MISSING GHC5.8 BILLION Featured

By News Desk September 09, 2019 3997 0

The woes of Dr Kwabena Duffuor, his children and the fleet of companies incorporated in his name keep on increasing. The defunct uniBank Ghana Ltd, under the receivership of Nii Amanor Dodoo, has now sued them in the commercial division of the high court.

Apart from Dr Kwabena Duffuor, the writ of summons, issued in Accra on September 7 2019, lists as defendants HODA Holdings Ltd, HODA Properties Ltd, Integrated Properties, Alban Logistics, Starlife Assurance, Bolton Portfolio Ltd, Dr Kwabena Duffuor II, Ekow Nyarko Dadzie-Dennis and Boatemaa Kakra Duffuor-Nyarko.

The suit further lists over a hundred assets and properties belonging to the defendants, mainly situated in plush residential areas of Accra, and prays the high court to restrain the defendants from disposing of or selling them.

Among other reliefs, uniBank is asking the court to order Dr Kwabena Duffuor and the other defendants to pay some GHC5.8 billion unlawfully taken from the bank.

Shady portfolio

The plaintiff, represented by the renowned law firm ENS Africa, contends in paragraph 24 of its statement of claim that Dr Duffuor, together with his children and other shareholders of the bank or persons related to them, “obtained loans and advances amounting to approximately GHC1,937,176,988 [GHC1.937 billion], without due process, and in breach of relevant statutes, and which loans largely remain unpaid”.

Beyond the unlawful loans, the plaintiff further claims an amount of GHC3,702,353,701, being “unlawful advances which were neither granted through the normal credit delivery process nor reported as part of the bank’s loan portfolio in regulatory returns to BoG”. The plaintiff says these shady-looking transactions were also used to acquire private properties for the Duffuors and their relations.

These loans and advances were illegal, the plaintiff claims, because they were in flagrant breach of the laws of the land, including the Banking Act 2004 (Act 673) and the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act 2016 (Act 930).

Accusations

The plaintiff alleges that the Duffuors’ illegal actions in granting loans and advances to themselves, which they used to acquire mansions and beach houses, are compounded by the fact that there was no collateral backing these loans, nor were any clear timelines for repayment given.

The plaintiff therefore prays the court, among other demands, to declare that the various assets acquired by the defendants which are still in their control are held in trust for the plaintiff. The court is prayed to order Dr Duffuor and the other defendants to provide adequate information on the properties listed in the suit.

The plaintiff asks the court to order the defendants to declare the profits, benefits and gains derived from the funds unlawfully taken from the plaintiff (uniBank).

The plaintiff further asks the court to place a permanent injunction on the defendants from doing business with or selling the properties so named in the suit because they belong to the plaintiff.

Balance sheet

It will be recalled that Mr Dodoo sued the defendants in an earlier case but this was dismissed for lack of locus. The high court ruled that the receiver, Mr Dodoo did not have the locus to issue a writ in his own name.

This new suit has, therefore, been filed by the receiver on behalf of uniBank, which was run aground by the actions and inactions of the named persons and entities described in this suit as defendants.

Announcing the consolidation of uniBank with other banks on August 1 2018, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, said that reports from the official administrator, KPMG, stated that uniBank’s balance sheet showed it was insolvent.

The statement also said that, among other things, the bank’s interest income and other sources of income were insufficient to cover the associated costs of funding underlying borrowings and liabilities as well as overheads of about GHC31 million per annum.

Though these claims by the Bank of Ghana have been challenged by the directors of the defunct bank, what is not in doubt is the fact that Dr Kwabena Duffuor’s uniBank was mismanaged, funds were misapplied, and these poor banking practices led to the bank becoming insolvent, a situation that obliged the Bank of Ghana to revoke uniBank’s licence and take over the bank and all its assets, including liabilities.

The government is spending an estimated GHC14 billion on what has been described as a much-needed clean-up of the financial sector, without which several millions of depositors would have lost their funds.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 11:42

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