Barely a few weeks after the country was hit by the GH¢58 million pre-Xmas Woyomegate scandal, another financial scandal has been uncovered, this time involving the managing director of The Trust Bank (TTB) and other top officials including the wife of a Deputy Minister of finance and Economic Planning.
Naomi Kwetey, said to be the wife of Fifi Kwetey, whom six months ago was the head of finance, and 10 other senior managers of The Trust Bank (TTB) were alleged to have shared GH¢59 million (90 billion cedis) as severance packages without the approval of the new board of the TTB.
The bank will be rebranded as Ecobank by the first half of 2012.
Ecobank has since directed the MD of TTB, Yirenkyi Boafo, to step aside while it conducts further investigations into the scandal.
Mrs. Kwetey, currently Head of Treasury, Daily Guide learnt, allegedly effected the payment of the GH¢9 million on behalf of her colleagues including the Managing Director, Larry Yirenkyi Boafo, into foreign accounts.
This was allegedly done to prevent the new owners, the staff and Bank of Ghana from obtaining information of the illegal payment of the monies ranging from GH¢300,000 to GH¢2 million, a source close to this paper disclosed.
Mrs. Kwetey is alleged to have bagged GH¢1.2 million while the MD allegedly collected GH¢2.2 million. However, luck eluded them when one of the senior managers, who allegedly deposited GH¢90,000 of his share into the wife’s bank account at Ecobank, was found out by the bank.
Ecobank, according to information gathered by Daily Guide, questioned the source of the money from the senior manager’s wife, since she had never before deposited anything close to such a huge amount into her account. Upon being grilled, she had no option but to spill the beans, naming her husband as the one who put the money into her account.
They were said to have undertaken the deal because the Bank of Ghana, their last hope, failed to prevent TTB from being taken over by Ecobank and moreover, their positions were under threat.
The source added that Mrs. Kwetey paid the monies on behalf of the senior managers a few weeks to Christmas, after the former board of TTB had been dissolved by Ecobank.
It is however unclear whether the past board approved the payment of the huge sums of money which could be used to set up a savings and loans company.
Daily Guide gathered that the payment was done two days after the dissolution of the board. Ecobank insists that the executives should have first sought clearance from the new board before effecting the payments.
The illegal deal has since been reversed, with the new board headed by Samuel Ashittey-Adjei, current MD of Ecobank Ghana, now demanding prior authorization for transactions beyond a certain threshold.
Meanwhile, Daily Guide has learnt that the Bank of Ghana is expected to set up a team to investigate the scandal, as the transaction has the tendency of creating panic in the banking system because customers may feel their monies are not in safe hands.
Ecobank Ghana is expected to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at the end of the month to approve the share swap and the acquisition of the entire assets of TTB in a deal close to GH¢220 million.