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Opinions Thu, 23 Jan 2020

Come to court with the facts - Duffuor tells NPP govt over political witch-hunting

Wofa Yaw Boateng Gyan, a former National Organiser and leading member of the opposition NDC has this week gone on radio to accuse the ruling NPP government of pursing political vendetta, by their sending of the national security operatives to go invite Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana who is the majority shareholder of the now collapsed UniBank Ghana Limited.

According to him, since Dr. Duffuor was neither a bank executive nor was he a board member of the bank, it is mindboggling that the NPP will be so interested in Dr. Duffuor such that they will send the Police to go for him.

This public accusation by this known NDC guru and strategist, exposes the politicization ongoing in the government’s attempt to whitewash themselves from the banking sector crisis created by the NPP economic management team. No matter what the NPP government will do henceforth, Yaw Gyan’s straight call is a prelude to the nature of headaches that the NDC is about to pour on the government, as far as the banking sector crisis is concerned.

After joining colleague shareholders to sue the government for revoking the license of their bank, UniBank, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, the former Finance Minister and former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, again sued the government, this time, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, for extending an invitation to him and requesting his presence in an unconscionable basis.

In a suit seeking an interlocutory injunction against the Police, and filed in the High Court, Accra, Dr. Duffuor argued that the Police CID know and should have known that he ceased to be a board member of UniBank since February 2009, and had no connection whatsoever with the collapse of UniBank, much worse to be invited by the Police on such related matters. And this is the point that the NDC former National Organiser rested his argument on to expose the issue of NPP’s political agenda against the former Finance Minister.

Lawyer for Dr. Duffuor, Mr. Simon Animley, in a statement of claim filed on 16th January, 2020, on behalf of his client stated, that one Edward Tabiri of the Police CID who claims to be investigating the collapse of UniBank, has threatened to have Dr. Duffuor “arrested, detained and hurriedly arraigned before court on non-existent and frivolous charges in order to embarrass and humiliate him, thereby lowering his standing in society".

Questioning the mental processes that would have led the Police Officer to extend such an unholy invitation to their client, the lawyer asked the High Court to invoke its human rights convictions to protect a law abiding Dr. Duffuor from Police harassment over allegations which have no basis in law and fact.

By this development, Dr. Duffuor whose name is making the rounds in the press, on radio and TV as a potential running mate to former President Mahama’s 2020 campaign, has restricted his fight with the NPP government within the confines of the court room, where battles of facts, documents and legal arguments will be the order of the day.

The executive NPP government no longer has use of the oppressive executive force they use against political opponents, largely based on the whimsical and capricious feelings and biases of NPP officials in authority.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

On 1st August, 2018, the Bank of Ghana in a national broadcast shocked the country by revoking the license of the biggest indigenous bank in the nation, UniBank Ghana Ltd.

Two days later, the shareholders of UniBank wrote to the Bank of Ghana, requesting a copy of the report that informed the decision to revoke their license.

Unfortunately, the Bank of Ghana in a letter dated 13th August, 2018 declined the request for the release of the KPMG report to the shareholders.

At the end of August 2018, UniBank shareholders sued the Bank of Ghana for revoking the license of their bank and pleaded with the court to reinstate the license.

Since the suit, there has been no direct communication among the parties, except representations in the Court of Justice.

Suddenly, and on the blindside of the court, the Police CID wrote on 8th January, 2020, to invite Dr. Kwabena Duffuor (the 2009 retired director of UniBank) to request his assistance in their so-called investigations, prompting the fresh suit.

BACKGROUND

In February 2009, Dr. Duffuor, the majority shareholder in UniBank resigned from the Board of the bank, to enable him take up appointment as the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning for the Republic of Ghana.

He then placed his interest in a deed of qualified blind trust (a trust independently administering the private business interests of a person in public office to prevent conflict of interest).

WHY UNIBANK MANAGEMENT SUED KPMG

After the shareholders sued the Bank of Ghana, the Managing Director of the bank and son of the majority shareholder, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor II also sued the auditing firm KPMG and some of its staff for their misreporting that led the Bank of Ghana to collapse UniBank.

Dr. Duffuor Jnr is also in court, accusing KPMG of deceit and deliberately misleading the Bank of Ghana and government into illegally collapsing the bank he had led as CEO.

The suit says “challenges confronting uniBank which was no more than general economic challenges were attributable to some alleged incompetent management of the bank and lack of diligence when indeed creditable records available to relevant government agencies have been to the effect that the said challenges were substantially attributable to the government’s own indebtedness to uniBank and the global economic turbulence".

Dr. Dufuor Jnr accuses KPMG officials of conspiring to take over UniBank, since the named KPMG officials have been appointed to manage the bank after the revocation of its assets.

Dr Duffor II is baffled that KPMG’s official administrator Nii Amanor Dodoo upon whose authorisation the BoG revoked uniBank’s lincense has been appointed “the receiver” of the bank.

He is also surprised that Daniel Addo, a former senior partner with KPMG who participated in discrediting of uniBank has now been appointed CEO of the transmogrified UniBank now known as Consolidated Bank.

“Simon Dornoo, who has also benefited from the KPMG's substantially discredited report as an appointed representative of the Official Administrator of uniBank “in receivership” was also at all material time a senior member of KPMG.

Columnist: Benjamin Essuman
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