Unpublished: UT Bank boss sweats in court

THE Chief Executive Officer of UT Holdings Limited, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, last  Tuesday told the Accra Circuit Court that Naa Otuah Sawyne, the owner of the property and a complaint in a case in which he has been accused of fraud, assigned her interest in the property to the person he released the title deeds to.

According to him, Naa Swayne assigned her interest in the property, numbered 23, First Ringway Estate to the late Mr Alex Adjei, the purchaser.

Amoabeng has been accused of releasing title deed documents of the complainant, Naa Sawyne, which were in the custody of his bank to one Alexander Adjei, now deceased, to secure a loan of GH¢1,279,000 from the HFC Bank.

Amoabeng’s evidence-in-chief
However, in his evidence-in-chief at the court, presided over by Mr Francis Obiri , he said the complainant had agreed to assign the property to Mr Adjei and had received a $100,000 as part payment.

He said while he witnessed the assignment for Naa Swayne, one Matilda Hesse, witnessed it for the late Adjei.

He told the court that at the time of signing the document, he was the CEO  of UTFS and signed the document as such and not in his personal capacity.

He, however, insisted that he did not have much to do with the transaction since the company had risk and legal departments which always played their roles and he signed as chief executive on behalf of the company.

He also told the court that the complainant had borrowed 250 million old cedis from the UTFS.

Amoabeng stated that Naa  Swayne had “agreed to assign the property to Mr Adjei and had received a $100,000 part payment, but she needed more money which Mr Adjei did not have at the time. She proceeded to borrow 250 million old cedis to be able to relocate to London with her children.”
He said Madam Swayne made a formal application for the loan.

Asked if he could produce an original copy of the document, he said he was not sure but it could be in the office.

The loan application form became a subject of a heated argument, with the prosecution insisting that part of the document was not legible hence it could not be admitted into evidence.

However, after the intervention of the presiding judge, the first page was removed and replaced with a clearer one.

The Offences
Amoabeng has been accused of releasing title deed documents of Naa Otuah Sawyne, which were in the custody of his bank to one Alexander Adjei, now deceased, to secure a loan of GH¢1,279,000 from the HFC Bank.

His accomplice, John Aidoo, is also alleged to have altered the title deeds of the complainant to reflect Adjei’s name without recourse to the complainant.

Amoabeng has pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud, while Aidoo has pleaded not guilty to one count of abetment of crime.

Both have been admitted to bail.

The prosecution called five witnesses who testified against the two accused persons, but the two filed submissions of ‘no case’ after the prosecution had closed its case.

They had argued that the prosecution had failed to prove their guilt and for that reason the court must set them free.

Facts of the case
According to the facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution, Naa Sawyne is a novelist residing at Dansoman in Accra.

In October 2005, the complainant decided to sell her house at Number 23 Ringway Estate in Accra and thus entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Adjei.

Per the agreement, the complainant and Adjei agreed on $280,000 as the purchase price, which was to be paid in three instalments in October, November and December 2005.

Adjei paid $100,000 on October 14, 2005, as agreed, but failed to pay the remaining amount.

The prosecution said the complainant was billed to travel to the UK and for that reason she borrowed GH¢25,000 from UT Financial Services and used the title deed of her house as collateral.

As part of the loan agreement, the complainant prepared and signed a deed of assignment conditionally in respect of sale transaction with the understanding that the final transaction would be witnessed by her lawyer, Martin Nwousu, and handed over to the buyer upon full payment of the purchase price.

“Closed-door” transactions
However, on May 22, 2006, Adjei allegedly used the complainant’s title deed, which was then in the custody of Amoabeng, to obtain a loan facility from the HFC Bank.

On September 27, 2007, the prosecution indicated, Amoabeng, without recourse to the complainant, allegedly wrote a letter to the SHC informing it that Adjei had purchased the complainant’s house and, therefore, asked SHC to assign the property to Adjei.

According to the prosecution, Aidoo, then the Solicitor Secretary of SHC, having records that the complainant owned the property in question, signed a letter of consent and gave consent to mortgage the property on July 23, 2009, an act which he (Aidoo) had no capacity to carry out.

Writer’s email:seth.bokpe@graphic.com.gh

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