Beige Bank collapse: Witness accuses Nyinaku of taking bank’s US$200,000 illegally
The first prosecution witness in the criminal trial of the former CEO and owner of defunct Beige Bank, Mike Nyinaku, has alleged that the accused person, in addition to the myriad of allegations levelled against him, also approved the physical transfer of US$200,000 from the bank’s vault to himself without due process.
Mr Julius Ayivor, a chartered accountant at audit and advisory firm, KPMG, who is the First Prosecution Witness in the case, told the High Court hearing the case that the said amount was moved from the cash management unit (CMU) of the now defunct bank to Mike Nyinaku’s office, noting that the accused person has till date not accounted for or returned the money to the bank.
This came to light when counsel for Mr Nyinaku, Thaddeus Sory, was cross-examining the witness in court last week.
Mr Sory directed the witness to take a look at a printed copy of an email in which Mr Nyinaku approved an amount of US$200,000 cash to be released to his own office, saying: “Take a look at Exhibit AA1. This is an e-mail dated 17 July 2017 written by a certain Stephen Duah Agyemang at 5:38pm to the accused person.”
In response, the witness answered: “that is so, my lady”.
Mr Sory then asked: “It is clear from Exhibit AA1 that the accused person approved [the US$200,000] as requested. Is that correct” and the witness answered “that is so. Exhibit AA1 shows the accused person’s approval and Exbibit AA shows the actual movement of the US$200,000 to the accused person’s office”.
Mr Sory asserted in his subsequent line of questions that the evidence tendered by the prosecution, which included a memo from the defunct bank’s cash management unit to Nyinaku’s office as well as other documents attached to that memo, only provided information on the name of the person who received the US$200,000 and not where (the location) the amount was received.
The witness, in response to Mr Sory’s assertions explained that from the evidence (ie Exhibit AA and Exhibit AA1), Stephen Duah Agyemang, who was an official of the defunct Beige Bank, sought approval from Mr Nyinaku for the US$200,000 to be released to his (Nyinaku’s) office.
The witness further explained that the same Exhibits also indicated where the US$200,000 was taken from (the bank’s vault) and where it was delivered (Nyinaku’s office).
The witness also explained that the first part of Exhibit AA was a memo showing the evacuation of US$200,000 to Nyinaku’s office, while the second part of the same memo showed an acknowledgment by one Raphael Zilevu (an official of Nyinaku’s office) of receipt of the cash.
Mr Sory, who argued that Exhibits AA and AA1 were two separate and distinct documents, as such, could not be said to confirm that Mr Nyinaku’s office received the US$200,000, said “the actual acknowledgement [of the US$200,000] is separate and distinct from the memo which generated the evacuation [of the funds] ”.
In response, the witness disagreed. Mr Ayivor explained that although the memo and the acknowledgment were two separate documents, the memo, which had the signature of Raphael Zilevu, an official from Nyinaku’s office as the ‘Receiving Officer,’ was the document used to request for the US$200,000 while the other document was the document signed by Raphael Zilevu to acknowledge receipt of the cash on behalf of the accused person.
The cross-examination of the witness also centered on a number of customers of the defunct bank listed on Exhibit AB1 (a list of over 10,000 customers) whose funds formed part of the over GH¢448 million that Mr Nyinaku is alleged to have siphoned to his company, Beige Capital Asset Management.
Mr Sory sought to challenge the veracity of the claim, using the case of one Emmanuel Kpobi, a former customer of the Bank, by asking the witness to trace the said transaction on the account of Beige Capital Asset Management which was tendered in evidence as Exhibit 9.
In response, Mr Ayivor said “that transaction is on the Beige Capital Asset Management Mobilisation account on page four (4) of 86 and the reference number is FT1705272820, dated 21 February 2017 for an amount of GH¢10,741.95”.
The witness also showed Mr Sory where, on the Beige Capital Asset Management Mobilisation account, he could find the remaining transactions.
Mr Sory had tendered a pendrive, containing the statements of account for Beige Capital Asset Management that shows all the funds allegedly siphoned from the account of the over 10,000 affected customers without their knowledge and consent, in evidence.
The case was adjourned to Monday 3 April 2023 for a continuation of the cross-examination of the witness.
On 1 August 2018, the Bank of Ghana revoked the banking license of Beige Bank and placed it in receivership.
Later, Nyinaku was put on trial for 43 counts of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering, involving the siphoning of a total of GH¢1.2 billion from the defunct Beige Bank between 2015 and 2018, in a case presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with additional responsibilities as a High Court Judge.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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