The Supreme Court has ruled that the Receiver of defunct uniBank, Nii Amanoo Dodoo, can testify in the criminal trial of the bank’s founder, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, and other officials.
Mr Dodoo was the State’s first witness in the trial but lawyers for Dr Duffuor urged the court not to allow him to testify.
They argued that the Receiver had breached sections of the Banks and Specialized Deposit Act, 2016.
The lawyers explained that he was appointed as Receiver of uniBank after being a partner of KPMG which audited the accounts of the bank.
But the State opposed the objection. The Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa admitted that Mr. Dodoo was previously a partner of KPMG.
She, however, argued that his appointment as the Receiver was lawful. She urged the court to dismiss the objection since the witness meets the requirement for qualifying to testify.
Court of Appeal Judge, Bright Mensah, who is hearing the matter as an additional High Court judge dismissed the objection and upheld the Director of Public Prosecution’s arguments.
He stated that Section 59 of the Evidence Act explains who is not qualified to testify. This includes someone who is incapable of coherent expression so as to be understood, directly or through interpretation by another person who can understand that person; or incapable of understanding the duty of a witness to tell the truth.
The Receiver was therefore asked to take the oath and proceed to testify. Dissatisfied with this decision, Dr. Duffuor and the officials took the matter to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court decision leading to a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, affirmed the Court of Appeal decision by a majority 3-2 decision. Justices Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Prof Mensah Bonsu and Samuel Asiedu made up the majority while Justices Gabriel Pwamang and Amadu Tanko dissented.
Dr Duffuor and 8 others are facing a total of 71 charges for various roles they played that led to the collapse of some financial institutions.