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Business News of Monday, 25 March 2019


Court joins AG to Receiver vs uniBank court case

An Accra High Court has joined the Government of Ghana in a case in which Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and 16 others are challenging the receiver of now-defunct bank uniBank, Nii Amanor Dodoo over the revocation of the bank’s license.

In its ruling, the court, presided over by Ms Justice Abena Dadzie, stated that: “It is hereby ordered that the Attorney-General be and is hereby joined to the suit as a defendant to the counter-claim. Let the title of the suit be amended accordingly to reflect the joinder.”

Shareholders of the collapsed bank in February 2019 filed a motion in court seeking to join the Attorney General to an ongoing case in which the Receiver of the Bank, is pursuing them in court.

The Receiver had dragged the 17 shareholders of the bank to court to have them forced to repay a GHC 5.7 billion debt they allegedly owe the defunct bank.

The shareholders, however, claimed that the central bank and the Government of Ghana were both misled by the audit firm, KPMG into believing that uniBank was being improperly managed and that the bank was likely to fall into insolvency.

To them, the erroneous report by KPMG formed the basis for the revocation of the bank’s license and its good assets handed over to the Consolidated Bank Ghana.

The court upheld the shareholders’ request and directed that “all processes and those already filed in the suit should be served on the Attorney General who has been joined to the suit.”

Background to uniBank’s woes

uniBank is one of the seven local banks that collapsed as a result of what the Central Bank has called poor corporate governance and mismanagement of depositors’ funds.

uniBank was also one the banks merged into the Consolidated Bank Ghana limited.

The central bank among others argued that the affected banks operated with severe capital constraints.

Back in March 2018, the central bank again announced that uniBank was also on the verge of collapse, and was taken over, with the audit firm, KPMG Ghana.

The Bank of Ghana made it known that shareholders of uniBank used monies from the bank to acquire estate properties in their own names.

According to the central bank “uniBank’s shareholders and related parties admitted to acquiring several real estate properties in their own names using the funds they took from the bank under questionable circumstances.”

The Receiver, Mr. Dodoo subsequently listed 34 properties acquired in the name of shareholders or related entities that could be used to recoup the debt.

Some of the properties run into millions of dollars.

He maintains that transactions that led to the acquisition of these properties should have been detected and prevented by the bank’s directors, some of which are captured in the suit.

Dr. Duffuor’s suit against BoG thrown out

An earlier suit by Dr. Duffour against the Bank of Ghana (BoG) over the revocation of the license of defunct uniBank had been struck out by the Supreme Court as of December 22, 2018.

The court presided over by Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah, said Dr. Duffuor’s lawyers had used the wrong avenue for legal address.

Dr. Duffuor sued to get the court to declare the license for the Consolidated bank, null and void.

The suit came three weeks after the BoG revoked the license of UniBank and four other banks for facing severe liquidity issues.

The BoG, in turn, challenged the capacity of the General Jurisdiction Court hearing the lawsuit.