Ex-Finance Minister Named in $1.2 Billion Ghana Bank Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- Ghana’s former Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor and 12 other parties are facing a 5.7 billion cedi ($1.2 billion) suit over funds that went missing during their tenure as shareholders and directors of the now defunct Unibank Ghana Ltd.

KPMG LLP, which is the receiver for Unibank after the lender’s license was revoked in August, is asking the High Court in Accra to declare loans, advances and asset purchases made by certain shareholders and “their related interests” as unlawful, according to a copy of the summons filed Sept. 4.

Duffuor founded Unibank in 2001 after serving for four years as governor of the central bank and was appointed finance minister by former President John Atta Mills in 2009, a post he held until 2012. The banking regulator placed Unibank under administration in March before revoking its license as it declared the lender “beyond rehabilitation.”

Repay Pledge

Duffuor and the other defendants have pledged to repay the money, Nii Amanor Dodoo, a partner at KPMG in Accra, said Thursday by phone. “We’re just seeking an order for the preservation of those assets,” said Dodoo.

“The claims are extremely weak,” Daniyal Abdul-Karim, an attorney for Duffuor, said by phone. “They are defeated both on facts and the law.”

Ghana is cleaning up its banking industry as the regulator is implementing reforms to improve governance and the capital adequacy of lenders. The holdings of Unibank and four other failed lenders were transferred to the newly created state-owned Consolidated Bank Ghana Ltd. while the country issued a 5.8 billion cedi bond to bridge the gap between their liabilities and good assets.

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