High Court grants receiver permission to take over Unibank property

An Accra High Court last Friday dismissed an application for injunction filed by owners of defunct Unibank to prevent Nii Amanor Dodoo, acting as receiver for Unibank, from taking over a property in East Ridge, Accra belonging to the former bank.

Mr. Amanor Dodoo, who was appointed the receiver for Unibank, has embarked on an exercise to retrieve and preserve all assets of the defunct bank.

One such property is an office building located in East Ridge, Accra and currently being occupied by Topp Core Security Limited. The receiver is said to have served the occupants of the building a notice to vacate the property.

But the former owners of the bank challenged the decision and took the issue to court praying that the receiver to be prevented from evicting the said tenants.

The court presided by Eric K. Baffuor, however, ruled that the applicants did not demonstrate sufficiently how the receiver’s decision to evict the occupant of the property will affect them [owners] given that the tenant has also not contested the eviction notice.

According to the court, Mr. Amanor Dodoo’s right to take over properties of the erstwhile bank as the receiver is derived from the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Act, 2016 (Act 930) and that right is not currently being contested in any suit before him.

While Justice Baffuor noted that there is an ongoing arbitration on the revocation of Unibank’s license, he added, the receiver is not a party to that and thus cannot be prevented from performing his functions of preserving assets that rightfully belong to the former bank.

He stated that in the event the arbitration is successful, the asset reverts to the bank as the receiver is only acting on behalf of the former owners and directors of Unibank and the bank will be the ultimate beneficiary.

The court’s ruling is likely to pave way for Nii Amanor Dodoo, acting as receiver not just for Unibank but Construction Bank, The Royal Bank, Beige Bank, and Sovereign Bank, to take over properties belonging to these former Universal Banks.

Banking Reforms

The Bank of Ghana in its banking sector clean-up revoked the licensed of nine-banks citing various reasons such as capital adequacy ratio crisis, poor corporate governance, overexposure to related parties among others.

The central bank in 2017 approved that the good assets of Capital Bank and UT bank be taken over by GCB Bank while it appointed Vish Ashiagbor of Pwc as receiver to make the most out of the remaining assets.

A year later, the Bank of Ghana revoked the licenses of five other banks – Unibank, Construction Bank, The Royal Bank, Beige Bank, and Sovereign Bank – and announced that their good assets have been merged to form Consolidated Bank, Ghana.

The central bank’s decision, however, is being contested by some of the shareholders of some banks that lost their license.

Notable among them are the shareholders of Unibank which took on the Bank of Ghana claiming their license revocation was done arbitrarily without recourse to them.

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