07 Feb 2020
Ghanaian prosecutors charged a former finance minister for alleged crimes that contributed to the collapse of one of the West African nation’s biggest local lenders during a banking crisis.
Kwabena Duffuor, who served as finance chief from 2009 to 2013, and seven other individuals were named in a filing Wednesday at the Accra High Court on counts that include theft and money laundering. Duffuor is accused of receiving 663.3 million cedis ($122 million) “knowing it had been obtained by means of a criminal offense,” among other charges, according to the court document.
Duffuor, who also served as a governor of the Bank of Ghana from 1997 to 2001, was the founder of Unibank Ghana Ltd. The lender was declared insolvent in August 2018 after shareholders and related parties took 5.3 billion cedis in loans and other withdrawals without following due process, the central bank said at the time.
Wednesday’s court filing also named Johnson Asiama, who served as a deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana until 2018, for granting a facility for the benefit of Unibank through another lender without following due procedure, causing losses of 150 million cedis to the state. He resigned from his post at the central bank after less than two years in the role, with his lawyer saying at the time it was “because the work environment has become uncomfortable.”
Asiama is also facing similar charges for the supply of liquidity support to UT Bank. The central bank stripped UT of its banking license in August 2017.
By Ekow Dontoh, Bloomberg, 5 February 2020
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