General News Thu, 12 Oct 2017

Otumfuo's diplomatic passport had expired when he gave out £350,000 - Bank

The Ghana International Bank has responded to media enquiries in respect of the sacking of a bank worker for lodging money in the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II UK bank account and said the Asantehene's diplomatic passport "had in fact expired" in August 2016 at the time of the incident.

The former employee of the Ghana International Bank in the United Kingdom, Mr Mark Arthur, has sued the bank arguing he was wrongfully dismissed and the case is being heard in the UK by an employment tribunal.

Mr Arthur was dismissed for allegedly failing to follow anti-money laundering rules and violating security policies, when he collected almost £200,000, as well as $200,000 in US currency in cash from the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to deposit at the bank.

He is said to have transferred the money to the bank in an Uber taxi.

Mr Arthur, who was an executive director of the bank, was also said to have transferred $200,000 on the instructions of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to an account at Standard Bank in Jersey, a day after depositing the money into the Asantehene’s account.

However, the subsequent deposit of the cash at the Ghana International Bank triggered a money laundering alert in the City of London and cost Mr Arthur his job.

Following the publication of proceedings at the tribunal’s hearing by The Telegraph in the UK, there has been an increased media enquiries on the case and the bank has issued a statement to that effect.

Read also: Asantehene gave me £350,000 and I took it to the bank in taxi - sacked bank official claims

The bank's statement published by Myjoyonline.com [see copy below] explained that there was an exemption of currency movement regulations due to diplomatic passport holders.

However, it said Mr Arthur did not check that the diplomatic passport of the Asantehene was valid at the time of the incident in August 2016.

It stated further that the Asantehene’s diplomatic passport, “had in fact expired. Even if it had not expired, the Claimant [Arthur] would still have had to follow the Respondent’s [bank] processes, which he failed to do.

Below is a copy of the statement from the bank

Mark Frank Arthur (The Claimant), v Ghana International Bank Public Limited Company (The Respondent)

Statement from The Respondent in the event of media enquiries Wednesday 11 October 2017

The Respondent rejects the allegations made by the Claimant and will vigorously defend its position.

The Claimant’s employment was terminated for gross misconduct, gross negligence and breach of trust and confidence. The decision to dismiss was upheld by an independent third party who found the Claimant had made a 'catastrophic error of judgement'. The Claimant has misrepresented matters to the Respondent and now seeks to make incorrect and unfounded allegations to the Tribunal.

Our response to the allegations is as follows:

1. Non-disclosure of Grant Thornton notes. The Respondent has never been given them. An application by the Claimant’s solicitors to obtain the notes was denied by an employment Tribunal Judge on 31 Aug. who suggested they reapply on 9 Oct, if they considered them material or important. The Claimant has not re-applied.

2. Accepting the Cash Deposits and carrying out the due diligence afterwards. The Respondent rejects the notion that there is precedent for accepting large sums of cash and carrying out due diligence afterwards. There is no comparable event involving large amounts of cash which would justify the Claimant’s actions.

3. The insurance policy covered the transportation of the cash. The Respondent’s policy did not cover the transportation of the cash by the Claimant.

4. Denial that there was a breach of the bank’s policies. The Respondent maintains that there was a clear breach. The Claimant should not have taken receipt of the £199,960 and $200.0000 without having first undertaken appropriate due diligence on the source of the funds, which he failed to do.

5. Approval from the Respondent for the transfer. The Respondent had a clear process for approval which involved Compliance checks. The Claimant chose to ignore the Respondent's processes.

6. Exemption of currency movement regulations due to a diplomatic passport. The Claimant did not check that the diplomatic passport was valid and it had in fact expired. Even if it had not expired, the Claimant would still have had to follow the Respondent’s processes, which he failed to do.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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