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Ex-NIB MD’s son in court over fraud

Son of former Managing Director (MD) of the National Investment Bank (NIB), Daniel Gyimah, has been accused of fraud and hauled before an Accra High Court by a company named, Eland International Ghana Limited for the retrieval of its land, properties and damages.

Stephen Poku-Gyimah, aka Nana Yaw Poku, serving as the first defendant, together with a company he illegally acquired named SANIS 5115 Distribution Limited (2nd Defendant), are being asked to cough out various sums of money for acting fraudulently against the Plaintiff; Eland International, a commodity trading company, which has offices across the world.

In a 47 point claim, Eland, accused Stephen Poku-Gyimah of various illegalities some of which cited his wife and the use of the state-owned NIB, where his father was once a Managing Director.

Other background details available to The Herald, showed his father’s tacit involvement and endorsement of his son’s activities.

According to court documents in the possession of The Herald, the owners of Eland International, claim the defendant Stephen Poku-Gyimah, aka Nana Yaw Poku, made a withdrawal of some $1,500 from the plaintiff’s dollar account at NIB several years ago.

He is expected to also make available in excess of US$2, 352, 372, being the total value of company’s stock he sold, as well as, GHc549, 700.00, also withdrawn from the Eland’s Cedis account from NIB, illegally.

Eland International Ghana Limited’s lawyers, led by Akwasi Opoku-Agyeman, in his statement of claim, narrated that Eland which is registered under the laws of Ghana, largely dealt in wholesale of variety of goods, including rice from India and Thailand, Sugar from Thailand and Brazil, timber, cosmetics, ladies shoes and handbags, jewelry among others.

Although, Mr. Poku-Gyima, had no particular designation in Eland, he as at 2007, was known to co-ordinate affairs in the company using his SANIS 5115 Limited, a registered company incorporated under the laws of Ghana with him as its Director.

To ensure the smooth operation of Eland, the company in the same year, was prevailed upon by the father of Poku-Gyimah, Daniel Gyimah, who at the time was the MD of NIB Ghana, a bank which the company had Collateral Management Agreement (CMA) with to consider employing Poku-Gyimah.

Eland lawyers, said although Poku-Gyimah at the time had no business skills or acumen, his father pushed that his son becomes the co-coordinating officer of Eland, in order to use his contacts to expand the company.

Despite the lack of expertise and experience, Eland was compelled to consider Mr. Poku-Gyimah, and as a result took him to Thailand to meet with the Company’s Directors.

While in Thailand, because the office had no job for him immediately, Mr Poku-Gyimah, was asked to suggest a business plan for him to be considered as the business development officer once he was able to prove that he had what it took to develop that area.

Following that, a letter to that effect was issued to the then Company lawyer, Justina Tete Donkor, with copies to the then head of the company in Ghana, Mr. Samuel Ohene Mante, who at the time was managing the Ghana office, this led to Mr Poku-Gyima, being finally employed as a business development officer in 2007.

The MD of the company, Arvind Kumar Bhatnagar, according to the writ travelled out of Ghana to seek medical care and this is where Gyimah-Poku, began to put his evil plans into action.

He was tasked to purchase a parcel of land for the construction of a warehouse for the company and so contacted one Winfred Kumah Apawu, to assist him acquire the said parcel of land.

A land lying at Achimota in Accra measuring an area of 1.82 acres with an existing structure on the Okulley Street near Neoplan Assembling Plant with digital address number GE-373-9223, was thus acquired for that purpose.The property is now named Voltic House and owned by Mr Poku-Gyimah.

Acting on behalf of Eland, Poku-Gyimah, entered into a purchase agreement with the property agent representing Barton AnnanJohn and Samuel Maxwell Awusu Johnson, owners of the land in Accra.

The parties settled on Three Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (300, 000.00) as the purchase price of the parcel of land, including the existing structure.

But, instead of stating the exact amount to Eland, Poku-Gyimah, according to the writ, sent an email saying the parcel of land rather cost some GHc700, 000.00.

This meant he had inflated the cost of the land from GHc 300, 000.00 to GHc700, 000. 00, but even that made a part payment to the owners of the land.

After collecting a Fidelity Bank cheque number 1070000261272 with a face value of c4, 226, 003.02 from the company’s lawyer, Justina Tete Donkor, for the construction of the warehouse, Poku-Gyimah, shockingly directed the property agent to prepare the indenture in his name; Nana S. Y. Poku-Gyimah, as the purchaser instead of Eland.

Another email was sent to the MD of the company stating the cost of materials needed for the construction of the warehouse as GHc172, 900.00 and in response,some $240, 000.00 was sent by the MD for that purpose. Strangely, after the construction of the warehouse, he changed the name on the document of the land from his personal name to SANIS 5115 Limited (2nd Defendant), a company he incorporated on May 23, 2008.

When this action was reported to the Police, he claimed ownership of the warehouse and stated that it was Mortgage Facility made available for him by Prudential Bank when he was employed. But checks at the Bank indicated that though he was employee of the Bank from October 17, 2005, and resigned on September 14, 2008, he never got any mortgage facility.

Eland claims that a search conducted at the Lands Commission indicated that, SANIS 5115 Limited is the registered owner of the land even though the land in question was acquired by Eland. Again, checks at the Registrar Genera’s Department shockingly reveal that Mr. Poku-Gyimah, and his wife are the directors of SANIS 5115 Limited.

Eland went on to say that Poku-Gyimah, without any authorization managed to change the signatory to Eland’s bank accounts at NIB and made himself a signatory to two accounts; the Cedi and Dollar accounts and began siphoning money from them.

Mr. Poku-Gyimah, did not end there, in order to ensure that he had full control of all the bank accounts of Eland, he unlawfully transferred all the funds in SG-SSB and the First Atlantic Bank accounts into the account with NIB, which his father was the Managing Director.

Even when Eland, changed the Company’s account mandate at NIB, Poku-Gyimah managed to withdraw One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US1, 500, 000). He withdrew these monies from Eland’s dollar account No. 40012114048-01 without the knowledge or authorization of the company.

Eland International Ghana Limited, is thus seeking various declaration including title to the parcel of land situate lying and being at Achimota, Accra containing an appropriate area of 1.82.

A declaration of ownership to the warehouse built on the land and damages for trespass, a perpetual injunction restraining Poku-Gyimah, their agents, assigns, workmen and whatsoever from interfering with Eland’s interest in the land.

An order directed at the Lands Commission to cancel and expungeSANIS 5115 Limited’s records as the purported owner of the land in dispute and register Eland as the rightful and legal owner of the land instead.

An order directed at the Poku-Gyimah and SANIS 5115 Distribution Limited to render account for the use of the warehouse for commercial purpose and also an order directed at to render accounts for the use of the facility office for commercial purpose.

An order for recovery from Poku-Gyimah, the total sum of One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$1, 500, 000) unlawfully withdrawn from Eland’s dollar account at NIB and also an order for the recovery of the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc200, 000. 00) being the total value of the six cars he took over.

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