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General News of Thursday, 6 September 2018


Receiver demands uniBank shareholders’ multi-million dollar assets

At the core of the uniBank receiver’s attempt to recoup a GHc5.7 billion debt from the collapsed bank’s shareholders is a plan to assume control of their multi-million dollar assets which are deemed shady.

The receiver wants a trust created for the transfer of the titles to the property said to have been acquired unlawfully for the benefit of creditors, among others.

Acting as KPMG, the receiver for uniBank, Nii Amanor Dodoo, in his suit against 17 shareholders of the now-defunct bank states that 17 uniBank shareholders are “jointly and severally liable for the repayment of the amount of GHc5,712,623,145 to uniBank Ghana Ltd.”

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 one of five 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.”

Now Mr. Dodoo has 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. The most expensive of the properties, costing $250 million, is located on Accra High Street.

There is also a GHc199 million property listed at Ridge and a $120 million property at Spintex.

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

Mandated by law

As the receiver, Mr. Dodoo also notes that he his empowered by Act 930 to “trace, follow and recover all amounts wrongfully and unlawfully taken from uniBank.”

He also indicates that the debt is being pursued in order “to repay uniBank’s creditors who must be paid in accordance with the hierarchy of claims set out in Act 930.”

Mr. Dodoo wants that all assets noted in the lawsuit in addition to all other assets deemed to have been gotten with funds “unlawfully taken of uniBank Ghana Ltd and within the possession or control of any of the defendants are held in trust for uniBank Ghana Ltd.”

Though he repeatedly describes the transactions as unlawful, Mr. Dodoo still wants a declaration that the transactions flagged by KPMG which resulted in unlawful loans, unlawful advances and the acquisition of assets are unlawful.

In addition, he also wants an order directing the 17 shareholders “to return or transfer all the assets mentioned in paragraphs 31 and 32 of the statement of claim as well as all other assets identified in this matter to have been acquired with funds unlawfully taken from uniBank Ghana Ltd.”

In the event some of these orders are gotten, he is also praying the court to ensure that assets which are transferred are done “together with commercial interest.”