Ghana was taken by surprise when the Telegraph.co.uk, a UK based newspaper unraveled a story left in the wrap for over one year, of how Ghana’s most respected King, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was involved in a £350,000 money laundering scandal that rocked Ghana International Bank in August last year, involving one of its senior executive, Mr Mark Arthur who later lost his job.
According to telegraph report, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II sometime in August last year succeeded in transporting £200,000 in sterling and $200,000 in US dollars into his United Kingdom multimillion-pounds residence in Henley-on-Thames in London with the aid of his diplomatic passport.
In a bid to lodge the cash in to his bank account in London, the King summoned Arthur, whom at the time, was the bank’s second most senior executive to his house for handing over of the cash.
Blinded by tradition and sense of loyalty to the king, Arthur, from New Barnet, Hertfordshire, a dual citizen of UK and Ghana drove to his home with the cash and then took it in Uber taxi to the bank’s city office for deposit in the King’s account, according to telegraph report.
Justifying to the court, why he failed to follow anti-money laundering rules when the cash was handed over to him, Arthur said in his witness statement that the King told him the cash had been withdrawn from banks in Ghana and brought to UK.
“I could not carry out necessary due diligence by talking to His Majesty, so I decided it would be best to verify the deposits at the bank and speak to Mr Joseph Mensah, the Ghana International Bank Chief Executive rather than disrespect His Majesty in a face to face meeting.”
Unfortunately for Arthur, the subsequent deposit of the £350,000 cash at Ghana International Bank triggered money laundering alert in City London and thereafter cost him his job.
Arthur was suspended and then sacked following the incident, after an investigation by outside accountants by name Grant Thornton.
The bank accused him of failing to follow anti-money laundering rules, while he was also accused of violating security policies as it was only insured to carry cash by armoured car up to a maximum of £250,000.
But over one year later, Arthur seem to be back in court claiming “wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and failure to protect a whistleblower.”
Lawyers for Mr Arthur argued that his handling of the deposit was in line with the way the bank previously handled Osei Tutu II’s account, citing a string of large cash deposits in 2013 and 2014 where the source of the funds was not properly recorded.