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General News of Friday, 22 December 2006

Source: Peace FM

Chronicle To Be Closed Down If…

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The Mankranso Branch Manager of Atwima Mponua Rural Bank (AMRB), Mr. Asiamah Osei Yaw, has threatened to close down The Chronicle newspaper, should it go ahead to publish adverse findings by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) against him and the bank. Alluding to invincibility, the boisterous flamboyant man, who boasted of having a good financial standing and a competent legal counsel, said he would make sure that the paper goes out of business if it does not withhold the CHRAJ report.

“Why should I listen to you? (Referring to this reporter). When you called the last time I talked to my Lawyer and he directed me not to speak to you again so you can choose to go ahead and publish the report if you think you’re bigger than the Court”, he dared the paper and added, “ I’ll make sure your company is collapsed from business.”

Mr. Asiamah made these pronouncements when the paper called on him at his office at Mankranso in the Ahafo Ano South District of the Ashanti Region on Tuesday morning, December 19, 2006, to verify issues raised against him and the bank by the CHRAJ report.

The Commission, in a matter between the Branch Manager and one Jonathan Kwabena Adom (client of the bank), had held him of having acted irresponsibly and unprofessionally against banking rules for transferring an amount of ¢ 24.9 million from the account of the complainant to another without his consent or notification.

It also imputed that employees of the respondent bank including its agents did not know much about the basic banking laws in the country and therefore directed them for further training as well as take immediate steps to reimburse the complainant an amount of ¢ 24.9 million or risk being prosecuted by the Commission.

But Mr. Asiamah would not have the patience to respond to enquiries by ‘The Chronicle’ and decided to intimidate the poor reporter and went ahead to issue threats in order prevent the exposure of the deal.

According to the fact of the matter as stated by CHRAJ, in the early part of September this year, the complainant, Mr. Jonathan Kwabena Adom, went to the respondent bank – AMRB branch at Mankranso to withdraw money from his account (Account No. J.K. 0572).

Whilst waiting for the withdrawal, he was informed that he could not cash any money because the Manager, Mr. Asiamah Osei Yaw, had seized his passbook, the facts indicated. The report continued that enquiry by the complainant disclosed that the money in his account had been transferred to his former employer who owns an account at the same bank.

This is because complainant owed his former employer and therefore the bank had used the money to pay off the debt. The Commission noted that Mr. Adom therefore lodged a complaint with them and a copy was sent to the respondent bank to analyze in order to send forward their comments on the issues raised by the complainant.

According to the report, comments received from the Manager stated that the complainant, whilst working for his former employer, embezzled an amount of ¢ 38,900,000 belonging to the company that had an account also at his bank. The report further indicated that the Manager claimed a committee was set up to investigate the matter concerning the embezzlement, stressing that it was at the committee’s meeting that the complainant, “Mr. Kwabena Adom agreed that an amount of ¢24,900,000 in the iron rods account, which bears the name of Kwame Adom Jonathan with the account number J. K. 0572 be used to pay off the amount.”

The report said when a copy of the respondent bank’s comments was sent to the complainant, he refuted and that prompted the Commission to arrange mediation and settlement between the parties. It was further disclosed during the mediation that the two parties were at loggerheads, claiming ownership of the account as well as the money contained in it, the report continued.

While the complainant claimed the account belonged to him, the respondent bank Manager insisted it did not belong to the complainant even though he admitted the account bears his name.

The Commission indicated the Bank Manager noted that one of the bank’s agents by name Maa Abena, who opened the account with the complainant made a mistake by opening the account in the name of the complainant instead of his former employer, hence, the action taken.

The Bank Manager preferred his agent, Maa Abena to reimburse the complainant of the ¢ 24,900,000 and not the bank, but the constitutionally mandated body charged with ensuring justice and human rights will not accept this since it found out that there was no documentary evidence to support the claims by the respondent.

Based on the findings, the Commission has directed that the passbook with respect to the account in question be returned to the complainant and the respondent bank reimburses the ¢24,900,000 so that the complainant has an unfettered access to it. The commission’s findings further recommended that the respondent bank should train its employees on the basic banking laws.

It had also asked that the bank act responsibly and professional in the activities in order to guarantee a good customer-bank relation among others. Chronicle

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