Kwabena Duffuor, others sued over GHC5.7bn uniBank cash

Defunct uniBank Ghana Limited under the receivership of Nii Amanor Duodoo has sued Dr. Kwabena Duffour, HODA Holdings Ltd, Star life Assurance and 7 others at the High Court.

The plaintiff, uniBank, among other reliefs is praying the court for an order for the recovery of some 5.7 billion cedis it claims was unlawfully taken from the bank.

The plaintiff lists several assets and properties of the defendants and prays the court to restrain them from selling, disposing of or dealing with same.

This new suit follows the dismissal of an initial one by the court due to the locus of the Receiver, Nii Amanor Dodoo to sue in his personal capacity.

The High Court, in dismissing the case had ruled that Mr. Amanor Dodoo did not have the capacity to issue a writ in his own name in the manner that it was done.

The presiding judge, Justice Jenifer Dadzie dismissed an injunction which had stalled the arbitration process, being presided over by former Supreme Court judge, Dr. Justice Dateh- Baah.

The Receiver had earlier filed an application asking the court to dismiss the counterclaim from the lawyer of the bank’s directors, Yaw Oppong, for the restoration of the license, arguing that it was “frivolous” and “lacked merit”

He also argued that the proper forum to address matters relating to revocation of licenses under Act 930 is an arbitration forum and not regular litigation.

The lawyer for the bank’s Directors, however, opposed this, stating that even if arbitration was the right forum to address their concerns, it does not warrant the dismissal of the case.

The judge sustained this argument by the lawyer, agreeing that arbitration does not oust the jurisdiction of the commercial court in the matter.

“Where the law admits a preference for arbitration proceedings, any proceedings before the court should stay pending the determination of arbitration proceedings upon an application…,” she said.

The judge observed that the matters for arbitration fall within section 141 of Act 930 and includes the matter of revocation of uniBank’s license mentioned in the counterclaim.

The ruling added that “in such matters, the authorities are clear; the court is to stay proceedings in respect of the issues that fall under the ambit of the provisions of Act 930 while the parties attempt to resolve those particular issues through arbitration.”

Revocation of license

The central bank merged uniBank with other insolvent banks to form the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited in 2018.

Announcing the consolidation of uniBank along with the other banks on August 1, 2018, the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison said reports from the official administrator, KPMG stated that uniBank was balance sheet insolvent.

“Among other things, the bank’s interest income and other sources of income are insufficient to cover the associated cost of funds of underlying borrowings and liabilities, as well as overheads of about GH¢0.31 billion per annum.”

These claims have, however, been challenged by the bank’s directors.