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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Not a cedi of GHc6m transferred to DYI was ever paid to Nyinaku – 7th Defense Witness –

The former Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of DYI, a subsidiary of ‘The Beige Group’ has told the High Court in Accra that, “not a cedi out of the GHc6,000,000 was ever paid” to the founder of the defunct Beige Bank, Michael Nyinaku “neither personally nor in his capacity as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

She said the funds which was transferred from the First African Savings and Loans (FASL) to DYI were utilized in accordance with DYI operations.

Sylvia Lawson, the former CFO who is also a Chartered Accountant by profession while testifying as the 7th Defense Witness in the ongoing trial said “All the disbursements made by DYI were in furtherance of DYI’s normal business activities.”

“Following the receipt of these funds, they were utilized by DYI in furtherance of the operations of DYI just as was detailed in the requests made by DYI.

“Hence not a cedi out of the GHS6,000,000 was ever paid to the accused, neither personally nor in his capacity as a CEO,” the former CFO of DYI told the High Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge.

Mr. Nyinaku, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the defunct bank has been charged for allegedly stealing GH¢2.1 billion of depositors’ money from the bank.

He has since pleaded not guilty to 43 charges including stealing, fraudulent breach of trust, and money laundering, and has been granted bail.

Evidence-in-Chief

In her 8-paged Witness Statement which has been adopted as her Evidence-in-Chief, the former CFO said, “Not even one of those disbursements was made to the accused in his personal capacity or in any manner that was to secure any kind of benefit to him either directly or indirectly.”

It is the case of the 7th Defense Witness that, “all the disbursements were documented by DYI in a manner consistent with proper bookkeeping practices.”

She also told the Court that,  a detailed review of the disbursements made by DYI would also reveal that DYI on a number of occasions disbursed funds to an entity named Pillpoint Pharmacy.

While explaining further she said, Pillpoint Pharmacy was the first investment that DYI made in the area of healthcare.

“Our investment in healthcare was a strategic decision, the objective of which was to provide a compliment to BEIGE Care Ltd, another subsidiary of TBG whose nature of business was the provision of health insurance services,” she stated.

The Witness who also spent six years with auditing firm KPMG, said “Through this initiative, Pillpoint pharmacies were listed amongst health service providers from whom clients of BEIGE Care could procure health services.”

“The benefits of this arrangement were immense, as I would proceed to explain.

“First of all, Pillpoint was a customer of the bank and so was DYI, adding that, “as customers walked into Pillpoint pharmacies to procure medicines, the attendants took the opportunity to introduce them to products of the Beige Bank and its other financial service affiliates.

She also said this provided more customer acquisition opportunities for the bank whilst the bank retained custody of the cash flow arising from all these trading activities.

Revelation

She told the Court that, “from the revelations above, and as far as I am concerned, the transfer of GHS6,000,000.00 to DYI was part of the routine transfers made by TBG to DYI whenever DYI needed funds to carry out its business operations.

“Thus, as happened with all previous transactions, this particular transaction was also fully documented including how the funds were utilized.

Therefore, based on my knowledge of and understanding of the transaction involving DYI, based on which the accused is being charged with stealing, the following issues can be established without controversy.

DYI’s request

It is her case that, DYI received funds for its operations which funds were received following a request made to TBG, the parent company.

She said, TBG upon approval of DYI’s request caused the funds to be issued by FASL to DYI, and the funds were utilized for the normal business operations of DYI.

The former CFO said, the DYI did not disburse any funds to the accused nor did DYI disburse any funds to anyone which resulted in a benefit to the accused.

“In the records of DYI, there’s a liability to TBG for that amount as received.

“How the settlement was to be made would be at the direction of TBG. DYI could pay TBG directly or be caused to pay FASL directly.

“The effect is the same, within their finance management framework,” she stated.

Frozen accounts

She told the Court that, following the receivership of the bank, “the bank accounts of DYI were frozen by the receiver of the bank.”

The Witness also added that, “this action significantly affected our operations,” and “Several attempts to get this resolved were not successful.

“Eventually, we had to downsize our operations significantly as we were no longer receiving working capital from TBG.

“I recall that those were very difficult times for us as we could not pay salaries and other operational overheads.

“Eventually, TBG directed that the office of DYI be closed down,” and “This happened in October 2018 and I officially resigned from DYI on 31st December 2018,” she told the Court.

The Witness said, based on the documents she has attached and marked SL3 and SL4, “there is no doubt that the funds transferred to DYI were used by the company itself.”

“The bank statement clearly shows how the funds were used, their purposes, and the payees,” she stated.

She concluded that “there are no payments made to the accused person,” and “as far as I know, the accused did not benefit from any of the transactions.”

Attached is the Witness Statement of DW7

WITNESS-STATEMENT-OF-SYLVIA-LAWSON-THE-REPUBLIC-v.-MICHAEL-NYINAKUDownload

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