uniBank collapse: Receiver gets green light to testify

uniBank collapse: Receiver gets green light to testify
Nii Amanor Dodoo

A Court of Appeal in Accra has given the Receiver of the defunct uniBank Ghana Limited, Nii Amanor Dodoo, the green light to testify against the nine accused persons, including Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, who are standing trial for contributing to collapse of the bank. The court upheld an earlier ruling of a High Court that said the Receiver was permitted by law to testify in the case brought against the accused persons.

This comes after the High Court, presided over by Justice Bright Mensah – a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibilities as a High Court Judge – dismissed an objection raised by Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and two other accused persons (i.e. Dr. HODA Holdings Limited and Kwabena Duffuor II) against the first prosecution witness’ (Nii Amanor Dodoo) competence to testify in the trial.

In a ruling dated February 17, the three-member panel of the Appellate Court, presided over by Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, dismissed the appeal as unmeritorious.

The court, which also had Justices Gbiel S. Suurbaareh and Georgina Mensah-Datsa as other members, ruled that a Receiver was competent to testify in court on any matter that came to its possession in its capacity as a Receiver; adding that the purpose of the Bank and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) is to ensure that Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions operate to protect the interests of their shareholders; and therefore where a criminal act is found or detected by either Official Administrator or a Receiver appointed by Bank of Ghana, such evidence will be admitted in the interest of the Public.

The court further added that rejection of the said evidence would offend article 4.1 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which imposes duties and obligations on citizens to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse of public funds and property.

Indeed, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) representing the Republic in her arguments resisted the position taken by the Appellants, and made submissions that the Bank of Ghana appointed KPMG and not the witness as an Official Administrator of uniBank, stating clearly that: “The witness was only a partner of KPMG and there was no fetter on his right to be appointed as a Receiver, and his appointment as Receiver of uniBank was not tainted with illegality”.

These arguments were made after the Appellants raised objection as to the admissibility of Nii Amanor Dodoo’s evidence, on the grounds that the matters on which he was testifying came to his notice through his appointment as Receiver of uniBank, which is in clear violation of section 122(8) of the Bank and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930). The Appellants argued that section 122 (8) of Act 930 is a mandatory provision which places an injunction on a person appointed as an Official Administrator of a bank or deposit-taking institution from holding office in that same institution within two years after the office of the administrator has come to an end.

In its ruling, the trial court overruled the objection and held that Nii Amanor Dodoo was lawfully appointed as the Receiver of uniBank, and that he was competent to testify on the matters in issue.

“I hold the respectful view that Nii Amanor Dodoo (Receiver) is qualified as a competent and compellable witness to give evidence for the prosecution. He has personal knowledge and can speak to the issues that came to his knowledge by reason of his appointment as Receiver of uniBank and the evidence he gathered pursuant to an investigation team he put in place to look into the affairs and management of the bank whose licence has been revoked by the BoG,” the trial Judge said inter alia.

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