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STATEMENT TO ADDRESS MISCHIEVOUS REMARKS MADE BY GOVERNOR ERNEST ADDISON… PPP

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Read Time: 7 minutes
Nduom challenges Birim Group LLC in US court over money laundering and  fraud claims

STATEMENT TO ADDRESS MISCHIEVOUS REMARKS MADE BY
GOVERNOR ERNEST ADDISON AT THE 100TH MONETARY POLICY MEETING (MPC)
OF THE BANK OF GHANA HELD IN ACCRA ON 31ST MAY, 2021

This statement is to address and respond to a number of inaccurate, unfortunate and
misleading remarks made by the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Ernest Addison. In a
response to a question relating to the suit filed by Birim LLC against Groupe Nduom in the
United States, at the 100th Monetary Policy Meeting, the BoG Governor effectively made the
following unfortunate statements:

  1. That the suit is evidence out there that the BoG’s financial sector reform was not a political
    witch-hunting exercise especially in relation to GN Bank.
  2. That the US court system is more expeditious than our courts
  3. That shareholders and directors took assets from the collapsed banks.
    We find the above remarks very unfortunate, misleading and mischievous and wish to
    respond as follows: –
    That the suit is evidence out there that the BoG’s exercise in the financial sector reform
    was not a witch-hunting exercise especially in relation to GN Bank.
    On this statement, we wish to state that the suit filed in the United States by Birim LLC is
    actually a continuation of the deliberate and well-orchestrated political smear campaign
    against a Ghanaian businessman and politician, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom by some elements in
    the current administration. We see the suit as an attempt to divert attention from the negative
    image that the government has suffered for its high-handedness in the reform agenda. The
    suit is an attempt by elements in the government, working with their collaborators, to
    strenuously seek some form of external or third-party vindication for their deliberate collapse
    of the businesses of the veritable entrepreneur Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom. That is why we see
    the governor’s comments as a corollary to the bizarre suit and an unfortunate attempt to give
    the suit a cloth of legitimacy and currency.
    That the US court system is more expeditious than our courts
    This comment sought to create the impression that the suit filed by the Birim LLC against
    Groupe Nduom had been expeditiously decided and that the frivolous and baseless claims
    against Dr. Nduom had been upheld by the court in the US. For the records, the US court in
    Chicago seized with the matter has not made any pronouncements or delivered its ruling in
    the matter for the BoG Governor to draw the unfortunate conclusion of a somewhat
    expeditious trial in the United States.
    At the current stage, Counsel for Dr. Nduom and others has filed a response to the suit and
    has given cogent reasons for the consideration of the court for the matter to be dismissed. The
    comments by the Governor created the impression that the matter had been concluded and
    that the wild allegations had been proven or upheld by the court.Secondly, the suit is between a surrogate claimant and Dr. Nduom and not a case brought
    against Dr. Nduom by the United States government as some media houses misreported the
    facts.
    Thirdly, on the question of the slowness of our processes, we would like to remind the
    Governor, and by extension the government, that “slow court processes” in Ghana is a twoway traffic and that some shareholders and directors who also sued the BoG or the
    government suffer the same processes bemoaned by the Governor. Judgements in some of the
    cases have been arrested by the same BoG utilizing the very legal processes available in
    Ghana. To proceed to express some kind of frustration with the processes creates the
    unfortunate impression that it is only the BoG or the government that suffers undue delays in
    our courts. Shareholders who have sued the Bank of Ghana are also going through the same
    legal processes described as slow by the Governor.
    Moreover, we would like to address the wild allegations of money laundering levelled against
    Dr. Nduom by many different people as part of this smear campaign. For the avoidance of
    doubt, Dr. Nduom and Groupe Nduom have not engaged in any money laundering activity
    anywhere. In fact, the Bank of Ghana itself has not come to that conclusion or at least, they
    have not publicly made that allegation against the veritable businessman.
    Money Laundering is a criminal offence under our laws and it is regulated by the AntiMoney Laundering Act 2020, Act 1044. According to the Act 1044, a person commits the
    offense of money laundering when that person converts, conceals or transfers the
    PROCEEDS OF AN UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY for the purpose of concealing or disguising
    the illicit origin of the proceeds. The law also defines what an UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY
    means and lists about 25 criminal offences and prohibited activities such as trade in narcotics,
    murder, kidnaping, terrorism, child trafficking etc. Neither Dr. Nduom nor Gold Coast, nor
    GN Bank nor any of the GN Companies has been engaged in any criminal activity or
    prohibited activity that constitute an unlawful activity under our laws.
    At worst, the allegation of insolvency as result of government’s refusal to pay its indebtedness
    to the Groupe is what has been used as a pretext to revoke the licenses of his companies.
    Hitherto, the companies were licensed and regulated and were engaged in open
    legitimate lawful business activity for over twenty-five years.
    The transfer of funds for the purpose of procuring a fleet of vehicles, industrial raw materials,
    office equipment, furniture, computers, air conditioning units for 300 plus offices, heavy
    industrial generators, heavy industrial machinery for printing, manufacturing, quarrying,
    construction, rice milling and other consumable supplies does not and cannot constitute
    money laundering. In fact, GN Bank alone had more than three hundred vehicles at the time
    of receivership, which vehicles have been abandoned and at the mercy of the vagaries of the
    weather, in addition to the huge cost of garage services, possibly provided by cronies of the
    people involved in the whole plot.
    That shareholders and directors took assets from the collapsed banks.
    It is unfortunate for the BoG Governor to continue to focus on what they call prudential
    violations committed by the directors and shareholders and completely ignore where the
    substantial parts of the so called taken assets are located. Some of the shareholders and
    directors have made legitimate and credible claims of the huge government of Ghana’s
    indebtedness to some of these financial institutions, that if they were paid promptly by the
    government, the firms would not be classified as insolvent or illiquid.If assets were taken from a bank, and the assets can be traced to the government of Ghana,
    even if the transfer of assets to the government was in violation of prudential norms, what is
    the big deal? Does the indebtedness disappear because the money was lent to government of
    Ghana contractors in violation of the rules of financial intermediation?
    The Suit in the United States
    We would like to take this opportunity to provide some details about the suit filed in the
    United States. Two former customers of two Groupe Nduom companies in Ghana have
    ostensibly SOLD their claim against Gold Coast and GN Bank to a US based company called
    Birim LLC. So Birim LLC claims that they have paid what GN or Gold Coast should have
    paid to these two customers. Instead of filing a claim with the Receiver and the Liquidator, as
    the government of Ghana announced as the procedure to make a claim against GN Bank and
    Gold Coast, Birim LLC, as part of the smear campaign decided to rather file a suit in the
    United States as a pretext to make a barrage of unfounded allegations against Dr. Nduom and
    his business entities. Among other things, the suit is about a claim of $30,000 in respect of
    the Gold Coast customer with interest and legal fees against Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom. The suit
    offers no proof of wire fraud or anything of that nature. It merely refers to a mysterious report
    from the Bank of Ghana to which an appropriate answer has been offered by GN.
    What is the interest of Birim LLC, that it would “ACQUIRE” or “BUY” all the interest of
    Margaret Sekyere’s investment? We should pay particular attention to the following facts:
    Margaret Sekyere has filed a lawsuit at the High Court of Ghana still pending for her alleged
    investment; she has also filed a claim with the Securities & Exchange Commission for a
    claim of GHC134,000 for which GHC74,000.00 has been validated. She has possibly
    received the initial bailout amount of GHC50,000.00 from GCB Capital, which amount Dr.
    Nduom will be expected to pay to the government of Ghana from his money with the same
    government of Ghana contractors. Then she sells her interest to Birim LLC. We are at sea as
    to the real intentions of these conspirators. Is it about recovering funds or to pursue with
    others a sinister plan against a Ghanaian citizen?
    The Governor of the Bank of Ghana is seemingly rejoicing over something which has not
    taken place. Is he sitting in Ghana pronouncing victory for a case in the US which has just
    begun? The Governor has left his field of expertise and is now acting like a clear
    political foot soldier. In fact, the BoG Governor was so much in a hurry to vilify Dr. Nduom
    that he refused to notice that the suit in the United States side-stepped his own instituted
    procedure for claims against the so called companies under receivership. Some faceless entity
    like Birim LLC has conspired with Margaret Sekyere to IGNORE your own stated
    procedures, and yet you are happy to report their actions as a vindication of the deliberate
    collapse of Ghanaian companies. We would rather consider their action as a vote of no
    confidence in your stewardship. For the avoidance of doubt, per the claims of Birim LLC,
    they should have taken over the interest of Margaret Sekyere in the suit she filed in Ghana
    and also her claims she filed against Gold Coast with the SEC. This is what the lawyers call
    Lis pendens, instead of filing this frivolous case far away in the United States as an agent of
    elements in government determined to destroy a Ghanaian businessman. These attempts will
    never fly.
    Conclusion
    The most important solution is for the Bank of Ghana and the Government of Ghana to
    validate the claims of its indebtedness to these financial institutions even if those debts are
    indirectly owed to these firms, as lawyers of the Bank of Ghana had been arguing in court. This second wave of vicious attacks against the person of Dr. Nduom is a face-saving
    exercise for a botched and politically motivated financial sector reform. It is also to divert
    attention from the FixTheCountry campaign led by the youth of Ghana. The incessant attacks
    on Dr. Nduom is not in the best interest of the Republic of Ghana. He was and is still creating
    the much-needed jobs our teeming youth are seeking. The power of government must be
    exercised in support of its citizens and not to be construed as a tool against political
    opponents. The government would be better off fixing the unemployment situation than
    engaging in needless attacks on its own citizens. #FixTheCountryNow.
    Sign
    Felix Mantey
    Director of Communications
    024356018

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