Ghana International Bank Plc in the United Kingdom (UK) says it has never suggested that Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was involved in money laundering.
“In fact, we have no evidence to that effect,” the bank said, adding that it had also not in any of its submissions questioned the integrity of the Asantehene. These were contained in a statement issued by Myddleton Communications Limited.
It said the tribunal’s proceedings and its findings would be about whether the bank was entitled to dismiss Mark Arthur as it did and not about the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The Asantehene was reported in a British newspaper to have given £200,000 as well as $200,000 with consecutive serial numbers to a banker, Mr Arthur, to be deposited on his behalf at the Ghana International Bank Plc.
The story claimed that Mr Arthur had said he could not conduct the necessary due diligence before depositing the money because he was a subject of the Asantehene and could not question him over the money or any other issue.
He has since been sacked by the bank and the matter has become a subject of litigation before an employment tribunal in the UK.
Mr Arthur is reported to have been sacked by the bank after the bank he allegedly transferred the money to in Jersey, one of the British Isles, reported the transactions to the UK’s National Crime Agency as suspicious.
Going into the details of how the Asantehene’s name popped up, the statement said: “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. It said this would have eliminated the mention of the name of the Asantehene in the proceedings of the tribunal.
Additionally, it said the bank neither mentioned him nor identified him in any of the documents submitted to the tribunal in its defence.
The statement further stated that Mr Arthur had, however, contested the decision and had won, thus revealing the identity of the Asantehene and his name in the proceedings.
Working with regulations
According to the statement, the bank operated in the UK and was 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, staff are 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 statement indicated.
It said the bank had maintained a long-standing relationship with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and had worked closely with him on initiatives such as the Otumfuo Education Fund, in providing IT education to children in deprived communities which it was keen to continue supporting.