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Beige Bank case: Court grants Michael Nyinaku GHC200 million bail

The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has charged Nyinaku with 44 counts of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering

The founder and chief executive officer of the now defunct Beige Bank, Michael Nyinaku, was on Tuesday (8 November) granted bail in the sum of GHC200 million with three sureties, two of whom must be justified.

The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has charged Nyinaku with 44 counts of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.

In court

In court today, the court clerk read out the 44 counts against Nyinaku, to which he pleaded not guilty. Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, who represented the state in court, read the brief facts to the hearing of the court.

Under the bail conditions, the accused was ordered by the presiding high court judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, to deposit his passport with the registry of the high court.

In addition, the properties to be used to justify his bail must be worth the total of the bail bond (GHC200 million).

The accused was also ordered to present himself to the police every Monday and Friday until the final determination of the case.

The court further ordered the prosecution (the Attorney General’s Department) to ensure that it completes all disclosures by 9 December 2022.

The court will reconstitute on 22 December 2022 for a case management conference (CMC).

Background

The charge sheet and brief facts of the case were filed at the registry of the Criminal High Court on Wednesday 2 November 2022.

The documentation was signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa.

The charges

The first nine of the 44 counts relate to stealing contrary to Section 124(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).

Counts ten to 34 allege fraudulent breach of trust contrary to Section 128 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), and counts 35 to 43 are on money laundering contrary to Section 1(1)(c) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 (Act 1044).

In all, according to the charge sheet, over GHC2.1 billion has been stolen, or laundered and or lost through the offence of fraudulent breach of trust by the accused, Michael Nyinaku.

Facts of the case

The facts of the case as filed by the Attorney General’s Department are that “the accused person was the Chief Executive Officer of ‘The Beige Bank Limited’ (Beige Bank)”.

“On 1 August 2018, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) revoked the banking licence of Beige Bank and placed the bank in receivership,” the facts of the case say. “A review of the financial and other records of the bank conducted by the receiver and his team identified a number of suspicious and unusual transactions which were subsequently reported to the law-enforcement agencies for investigation.

“Investigations revealed that between 2015 and 2018, the accused person as CEO of the bank used various means to transfer huge sums of money to companies related to him and for his personal benefit.

“The funds transferred were depositors’ funds lodged with Beige Bank. Between 2017 and 2018, the accused person caused the transfer of 10,071 fixed deposit accounts held with Beige Bank in which various customers placed a total of GHC448,636,210.21 to Beige Capital Asset Management Ltd (BCAM), without the knowledge and consent of these customers.”

The AG’s facts go on to reveal that “BCAM is a limited liability company wholly owned by ‘The Beige Group Ltd’ (Beige Group), an entity which in turn is wholly owned by the accused”.

“Investigations also revealed that the accused person, between the year 2017 and 2018, caused the transfer of 35 fixed deposit investments of two customers of Beige Bank, totalling GHC141,042,348.92, to the Beige Group, a company wholly owned by the accused [which] is the majority shareholder of Beige Bank.

“Investigations further revealed that, some time in March 2018, the accused person caused a fictitious second account to be opened in the name of First Africa Savings and Loans (FASL), an existing account holder with Beige Bank, without the knowledge of the board and management of FASL.

“The accused person then caused the transfer of the sum of GHC20 million from the accounts of various Beige Bank customers into the bank account of BCAM held with Beige Bank.

“The GHC320 million was subsequently transferred from the BCAM account held with Beige Bank into the fictitious FASL account that had been opened in Beige Bank’s books on the instructions of the accused.

“Between March 2018 and August 2018, GHC21,123,270.96 out of the GHC20 million was transferred from the fictitious FASL bank account to some two individuals and ten companies, nine of which are related to the accused person, on the instructions of the accused person.

“Again, between 2015 and 2017, the accused person, through the use of payment vouchers, caused the sum of GHC1,465,000.00 of depositors’ funds lodged with Beige Bank to be paid to himself and other persons.

“These transactions were recorded in a general ledger account of the bank descried as Directors Account. Investigations also revealed that the accused person, through the use of payment vouchers, emails and memos, caused a total amount of GHC20,599,052.58 of depositors’ funds lodged with Beige Bank to be transferred to a number of companies and individuals for his benefit.

“These transactions were recorded in a general ledger account of the bank described as Shareholders Account. Additionally, between 2016 and 2017, the accused person, through the use of payment vouchers, caused a total amount of GHC141,742,087.70 of depositors’ funds lodged with Beige Bank to be transferred to a number of companies and individuals for his benefit.

“These transactions were recorded in a general ledger account of the bank described as Prepayment: Project Works Account. Between 2017 and 2018 the accused person, through the use of payment vouchers, emails and memos, further caused the sum of GHC118,076,813.09 of depositors’ funds lodged with Beige Bank to be transferred to a number of companies and individuals for his benefit.

“These transactions were also recorded in a general ledger account of the bank described as the Beige Group Account. Investigations have established that the money dishonestly appropriated by the accused from Beige Bank remained unpaid as at 1 August 2018 when the bank’s licence was revoked by Bank of Ghana.”

Wilberforce Asare

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