UK bank apologises to Asantehene over diplomatic passport claim

UK bank apologises to Asantehene over diplomatic passport claim
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brakopowers | Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com | Instagram: @Realbrakopowers
Date: 12-10-2017 Time: 07:10:40:pm
Asantehen Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

The Ghana International Bank has admitted it erred with some claims it made against the Asantehene as part of its defence in a case before a London employment tribunal.

The Bank in its formal apology before the tribunal, stated the diplomatic passport carried by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the time he gave £350,000 to an official for deposit into his account had not expired, despite an earlier claim.

The Bank is in court defending why its dismissal of an official, Mark Frank Arthur over the transaction is justified.

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Mr Arthur had sued the Bank after he was dismissed for accepting to deposit £350,000 into the Asantehene’s account in the UK without doing due diligence.

He admitted before the tribunal he accepted the cash from Otumfuo Osei Tutu II without following the anti-money laundering regulations because of the King’s status.

But the Bank in its statement of defence Wednesday said its checks revealed the Asantehene’s diplomatic passport had expired at the time he gave the money for a safe deposit.

It had also said the money in question was transferred from SAKA Company under circumstances it suspected to be "dodgy."

Related Article: UK Tribunal decides fate of bank official over Asantehene’s £350,000 cash

The judge had scheduled Thursday for his ruling but he had to postpone it to Monday after the Bank retracted some of its earlier claims.

Lead counsel for the Bank, Mayer Brown reportedly told the court their latest checks have revealed Otumfuo’s diplomatic passport had not expired.

“I am apologising for the wrong statement by saying that the Otumfuo is using an expired diplomatic passport," the Bank's solicitor said.

He also retracted the Bank’s claim that the money transacted from SAKA Company was done under shady circumstances.

UK-journalist Vincent Owusu Appiah told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story the judge shook his head after the Bank rendered the apology.

The reporter said lawyers for Mr Arthur maintained their client did nothing wrong when he deposited the money on behalf of the King.

They claimed the transaction was duly approved by the Bank, adding Chief Executive of the Bank, John Mensah had previously approved similar transactions for the Asantehene.

An employee of the Bank, Raymond Sowah confirmed the transaction was duly approved by the appropriate officials before it was done.

“He proved that the transaction was genuine so they don’t understand why Mr Mensah would go and report the incident,” Vincent Owusu Appiah said of the employee.

There are claims of bad blood between Mr Arthur and Mr Mensah alleged to have authorized the transaction.

The judge has scheduled next week Monday, October 16 for his ruling on the matter.

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