The Ghana International Bank (GhIB) in the United Kingdom, has formally apologised before a London Employment Tribunal, for stating that at the time the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II gave £350,000 to an executive director of the bank in August 2016, for it to be lodged in his account in the UK, the King was using an expired diplomatic passport.
The bank has also apologised for stating in its written evidence in the ongoing case, by stating that, it suspected the Asantehene of engaging in a “dodgy deal” with SAKA Company.
A former executive director of the GhIB in the UK, Mr Mark Arthur has sued his employers, the GhIB, arguing he was wrongfully dismissed, unfairly dismissed and was not protected as a whistle blower.
He was dismissed for allegedly failing to follow anti-money laundering rules and violating security policies, when he collected almost £200,000, as well as $200,000 in cash from the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to deposit at the bank in August 2016.
The Asantehene is said to have summoned Mr Arthur to his residence in Henly-on-Thames and handed him a bag containing the money and the bank official felt it was inappropriate to ask too many questions.
Mr Arthur, the second most senior person at the GhIB and a dual citizen of the UK and Ghana sent the money to the bank’s city offices for deposit in an Uber taxi after first driving to his own home with the cash.
He was first suspended and later sacked after an investigation by external auditors and in his statement to the tribunal he said his boss, Mr John Mensah, the Chief Executive of GhIB, approved the deposit and transfer.
As part of the employment tribunal hearing of the dismissal case, the GhIB in its written evidence said the Asantehene’s diplomatic passport “had in fact expired” in August 2016 at the time of the incident and also stated that, it suspected the Asantehene of engaging in a “dodgy deal”with SAKA Company.”
But at the Tribunal hearing on Thursday, the solicitor for the bank, Mayer Brown said on four occasions that he wanted to make that correction and apologise for making those comments, UK’s ABN TV’s Vincent Appiah who was at the courtroom on Thursday stated in a report on radio.
“I am apologising for the wrong statement by saying that the Otumfuo is using an expired diplomatic passport,” the solicitor told the tribunal and also apologised for stating that the bank suspected the Asantehene of engaging in a “dodgy deal”with SAKA Company.
The GhIB’s accusation had been stated in the written evidence to the Tribunal and repeated in a press statement which was released on Wednesday by the bank but on Thursday, the bank apologised and requested a correction of those two accusations.
In another development, Vincent Appiah also reported that the lawyer for Mr Arthur also told the Tribunal that they don’t understand why the Asantehene’s name had been dragged into the process at the Tribunal when the matter was between the bank and Mr Arthur.
The lawyer also said he believed the Asantehene had not done anything wrong and that they suspect there was a strained relationship between Mr Arthur and his former boss, Mr John Mensah, the Chief Executive of GhIB, who had earlier approved of the transaction but later changed his mind and went to report Mr Arthur.
The lawyer for Mr Arthur insisted that Mr Mensah had previously approved similar transactions for the Asantehene and added that a former employee, Raymond Sowah and other staff members proved that the transaction was genuine and so they don’t understand why Mr Mensah should report the incident.
He said they suspect that Mr Mensah behaved that way after a staff had drawn his attention to the fact that he did not have powers to approve a transaction involving such an amount..
The hearing continues Monday, October 16, 2017.
Excerpts from Wednesday’s proceedings