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17.02.2009 General News

BNI tightens noose around Gyimah's neck

By Ivy Benson & Daniel Nonor - Ghanaian Chronicle
BNI tightens noose around Gyimah's neck

There are strong signals that the embattled National Investment Bank (NIB) boss, Mr. Daniel Gyimah would be engrossed in a long and winding legal escapade, as he tries to purge himself of charges levelled against him, while his lawyers frantically worked round the clock to get him released from the grips of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), yesterday.

Counsel for the accused person toiled round the premises of the Cocoa Affairs Circuit court registry, trying to execute the bail condition pronounced by the court on their client. Information gathered indicated that officials have been sent to Sunyani to assess a Hotel, said to belong to his brother, as one of the sureties for his bail conditions. The Appraisal of the property had been completed and a report said to have been faxed to Accra, however, the registry had indicated that it had not received any fax document in that respect yet.

Following the latest development, The Chronicle has gathered that the NIB boss would still be in the custody of the BNI until the court registry receives the appraisal report on the property being demanded.

The issue also attracted the presence of some sympathizers of the accused person, including Dr. Konadu Apraku, the Campaign manager of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer in the just ended December 2008 General Elections to the court premises, in solidarity with Mr. Gyimah.

Mr. Gyimah was picked up by the BNI on charges of causing financial loss to the state, to the tune of $60 million and arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court on Friday, but was granted bail in the sum of GH¢500,000 with four sureties, one to be justified, after he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The offence was alleged to have been caused sometime in May 2007, when he unilaterally used the bank as a guarantor for Eland International (Ghana) Limited, a private company, by signing 30 promissory notes, all valued at US$60 million.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Paul K. Frimpong had earlier told the court, presided over by Mr. D.E.K. Daketsey that the accused person on May 7, 2007, unilaterally entered into an agreement with Eland International (Ghana) Limited, in which he used the NIB as a guarantor, and issued 30 promissory notes valued at $60million.

The court was informed that at the time the promissory notes matured on January 29, this year, Eland contacted Iroko Security Company Limited and discounted the $60million promissory notes to $45million. According to the prosecutor, after January 29, this year, there was no sign of payment to Iroko, hence a swift message was sent to Mr. Gyimah to confirm payment.

The court was told that immediately Gyimah received the message, he ordered the International Banking section of the NIB to confirm payment, which was done accordingly.

Meanwhile, the prosecution noted that most major documents covering the transaction between NIB and Eland could not be traced in the records of the bank, thereby raising suspicion of a scam. The prosecutor indicated that Gyimah had admitted in a statement of having guaranteed payment of the monies on behalf of the bank without contacting the Board of Directors of NIB.

Speaking on a private radio station in Accra yesterday, Lawyer Nkrabea Effah Dartteh, one of the counsel for the accused person, stated that efforts were being made to fulfill the necessary requirements to free Mr. Gyimah from BNI custody.

He indicated that a possible reason for the continuous detention of his client could be that conditions for his bail had possibly not been satisfied. “I reckon it mainly due to the fact that we left the court room on Friday after 1pm, so most likely by the time the sureties and the documentations were ready, the circuit court registrar must have closed from work”.

He was, however, optimistic that his client would meet all requirements to see him released by the end of day yesterday.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson, Mahama Ayarigah, has however debunked allegations that the detention of Mr. Gyimah had political undertones. He stated that his continues detention was due to the failure of the suspect and his lawyers to satisfy the bail.

He explained that although the suspect was granted bail, evidence of the execution of the bail bond was needed to finalise the bail and secure his release.