In a stunning revelation during the trial of Republic v. UT Holdings and four others, the fifth witness for the prosecution, Joseph Yeebo Sampana, treasurer of Ghana Exim Bank, shed light on significant transfers of investments to UT Holdings Ltd (UT Holdings). The case, which is currently at the trial stage, has captured national attention due to its high-profile defendants, including former UT Bank executives and key stakeholders.
Sampana’s testimony, delivered during the court hearing, shed light on the intricate dealings between Exim Bank and UT Bank, which occurred before the latter’s conversion into Exim Bank by Act 911 in March 2016. The witness revealed that Export Development Agricultural and Investment Fund (EDAIF) conducted business with UT Bank when the latter was designated as a Financial Institution (DFI).
According to the witness, Exim Bank’s association with UT Bank involved loan disbursements from EDAIF through UT Bank, with Exim Bank receiving certificates of placement from the institution in return for the funds deposited. However, matters took an unexpected turn when UT Bank was acquired by Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB).
Sampana testified that during meetings between the management of Exim Bank and GCB, it was decided that GCB would assume control over all investments that Exim Bank had with UT Bank. Three of Exim Bank’s investments with UT Bank were then consolidated, amounting to an eye-watering GHC 25,877,825. Additionally, GCB took over another substantial investment of GH 5,133,728.80, which was originally placed with UT Holdings, not UT Bank.
The treasurer admitted that the revelation of the GHC 5,133,728.80 investment being transferred to UT Holdings came as a shock to Exim Bank, as they only discovered this late in 2017. Instead of receiving a UT Bank certificate of investment, they were issued a certificate of investment from UT Holdings. The discrepancy raised questions about the timing and legitimacy of the transfer.
Under cross-examination by counsel representing the third accused party, UT Holdings Limited, Sampana revealed that he had been an employee of Exim Bank for over a decade and held significant financial expertise, including being a qualified Chartered Accountant and holding a Master’s in Finance.
The court, not satisfied with the revelations, ordered Sampana to produce all of Exim Bank’s roll-over certificates during the next adjourned date. This move aims to ascertain the full scope and timeline of the investment transfers.
The trial has been adjourned to the 17th, 18th, and 19th of October 2023 at 1:00 pm, raising further anticipation among the public and the financial community for what may be yet another significant twist in this complex case.
The outcome of this trial will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for Ghana’s financial sector and could set a precedent for future dealings between financial institutions and investment companies.