Officials of the Ghana International Bank have said the Bank has no evidence of money laundering against Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, debunking media reports that suggest otherwise.
They said the ongoing tribunal hearing that has gained much public attention, has nothing to do with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as it is the former Executive Director of the bank, Mark Arthur’s breach of the Bank’s internal policies and procedures.
Clarifying the Asantehene’s involvement in the money laundering case, the bank in a statement said, “There has never been any suggestion by the Bank that the King was or is involved in money laundering. In fact, we have no evidence to that effect. The bank has also not in any of its submissions questioned the integrity of the King.”
It further stated, “The Bank never mentioned the King nor identified him in any of the documents submitted to the Tribunal in its defence.”
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II became a subject of discussion in both local and international media after a British-Ghanaian Mark Arthur, who lost his job as result of the money laundering case mentioned the Ashanti King as the owner of the cash he deposited.
According to Mr. Arthur, Otumfuo invited him to his multimillion-pound sterling residence in Henley-on-Thames and handed him a bag containing almost £200,000 as well as $200,000 with consecutive serial numbers.
The £350,000, however, did not make it into the bank account at the Ghana International Bank, as it suspicion of possible money laundering.
Mr. Arthur who was then an employee was suspended then later dismissed
He was sacked for allegedly failing to follow anti-money laundering policies when he was handed £350,000 to deposit at the Ghana International Bank.
Mr. Arthur, who is, however, seeking justice for wrongful dismissal and failure on the part of the bank to protect a whistleblower said he was unable to follow anti-money laundering rules when he accepted the cash because of the king’s status.
But the UK bank has decided to protect the image of the king and keep his name away from the proceedings by applying for an anonymity order.
“With a focus on the substance of the matter, and for customer confidentiality purposes, the bank had applied for an anonymity order in September of this year , ahead of the Tribunal Proceedings in October.”
Below is the full statement:
Mark Arthur V. Ghana International Bank Public Liability Company Ghana International Bank Plc’s attention has been drawn to certain misrepresentations in the matter above and wishes to clarify its position as follows:
• Ghana International Bank Plc. operates in the United Kingdom and is subject to the regulations of the Prudential Regulatory Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the UK as a whole.
• These regulations guide the bank’s internal procedures, policies as well as the conduct of all of its employees.
• The Bank takes its legal and regulatory obligations very seriously as well as its duties and obligations to its customers. In this regard, the staff is required under the bank’s whistleblowing policy and UK laws to report all suspicious transactions to the appropriate authorities. The consequences of the Bank not fulfilling its obligations can be far-reaching at times. In some instances, staff seen to be liable could face a possible jail term and in extreme cases, the Bank itself could face a withdrawal of its operating licence.
• The ongoing case which has caught public attention is about Mark Arthur’s breaches of the Bank’s internal policies and procedures as well as UK laws.
• The Tribunal’s proceedings and its findings will be about whether the Bank was entitled to dismiss Mark Arthur as it did and not about the King, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II.
• There has never been any suggestion by the Bank that the King was or is involved in money laundering. In fact, we have no evidence to that effect. The bank has also not in any of its submissions questioned the integrity of the King.
• With a focus on the substance of the matter and for customer confidentiality purposes, the bank had applied for an anonymity order in September of this year ahead of the Tribunal Proceedings in October. This would have eliminated the mention of the name of the king in the proceedings of the tribunal. Additionally, the Bank never mentioned the King nor identified him in any of the documents submitted to the Tribunal in its defense.
• Mark Arthur had however contested this and had won thus exposing the identity of the king and his name in the proceedings.
• The Bank has maintained a long-standing relationship with the King and has worked closely with him on initiatives such as the Otumfuo Education Fund, in providing IT education to children in deprived communities. This is a project that the Bank is keen to continue supporting.
• “The bank also wishes to clarify that contrary to earlier media reportage, Mark Arthur had neither sought nor received authorization from the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Joe Mensah.”
SIGNEDMYDDLETON COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED (ON BEHALF OF MANAGEMENT OF GHANA INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC)