Michael Nyinaku
Michael Nyinaku
Featured

Beige Bank bought forex from unlicensed company – Witness

A witness in the trial of Michael Nyinaku, the Founder of the erstwhile Beige Bank Limited, has testified that the bank bought foreign currency from his company, which was unlicensed to engage in forex.

Advertisement

Samuel Gariba, who is a subpoenaed defence witness, last Wednesday told the Accra High Court that he used to sell foreign currencies to Beige Capital, which later became Beige Bank, and he had known Nyinaku for over 25 years with the relationship based on the buying and selling of forex.

When the prosecutor, Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, asked the witness if his company was licensed to deal in foreign currency, he answered in the negative.

“At the time your company, Mogriba Ventures, dealt with Beige and the accused, it was not licensed to do forex business?” the prosecutor asked “No, it was not licensed,” the witness answered.

Not guilty

Nyinaku is on trial on accusation of stealing GH¢1.21 billion of depositors’ money from the defunct bank. He has pleaded not guilty to 43 counts of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.

The accused person is currently on bail in the sum of GH¢ 200 million with three sureties.

Alleged illegal transfer

One leg of the prosecution’s case is that between 2015 and 2018, Nyinaku, through the use of payment vouchers, emails and memos, allegedly caused the transfer of about GH¢261m from depositors’ funds to a number of companies and individuals for his own benefit.

Part of the amount was said to have been transferred to a company owned by Gariba, which had an account with Beige Bank. Gariba was, therefore, subpoenaed by Nyinaku’s legal team as the 19th defence witness to testify to the circumstances that led to the transfer of the money into his company’s account at the bank.

Testimony

The witness, who was led by counsel for Nyinaku, Thaddeus Sory, told the court that he was a forex bureau operator who had sold forex to Nyinaku on numerous occasions even before Nyinaku set up Beige Capital, the microfinance company which later became Beige Bank.

According to him, after the establishment of Beige Capital, he established an account in the name of his company, Mogriba Ventures, and sold forex to the financial institution after Nyinaku introduced him to other officials.

“Anytime they needed foreign currencies, the officials of the bank would call me and we would negotiate on the exchange rate and once we agreed, I would deliver the foreign currencies to the bank. When they are satisfied with the authenticity, they will then credit my company’s account with the cedis equivalent,” the witness testified.

Mr Sory showed the witnesses certain vouchers and asked him how an amount of GH¢ 1.551m was transferred into his company’s account at the bank, to which the witness responded that they were payments for foreign currencies he sold to the bank.

Counsel further asked the witness what his take on claims by the prosecution that the said money paid into the company’s account was for Nyinaku’s personal benefit.
The witness rejected such claims, saying: “No, that is my money.”
 

Cross-examination

During cross-examination, the prosecutor repeatedly asked the witness whether his company was licensed to deal in the forex business. After initial denial and clarification, Gariba admitted that the company was not licensed to deal in forex at the material time the transactions before the court were conducted.

The prosecutor further asked the witness whether he signed any vouchers for payment after the said transactions for the sale of foreign exchange, to which the witness answered no.

Below is what transpired between the prosecutor and the witness

Prosecutor: So these vouchers that you have been shown, you never signed or filed any vouchers in respect of any of the money you exchanged for the bank?

Witness: No, I did not sign anything.

Prosecutor: So you do not have any idea how these vouchers were generated and even who signed them?

Witness: No

The hearing continues on July 15, this year at the court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal with additional responsibility as a High Court judge.

Writer’s email: [email protected] 

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares