Ghana News

Nduom challenges Birim Group LLC in US court over money laundering and fraud claims

Embattled Businessman, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has taken on equity fund and securities investment company based in the United States, Birim Group LLC, over its legal challenge against him and 18 others including his immediate family, over claims of money laundering and wire fraud.

Dr. Nduom in his defence said the suit by the company is an attempt to “smear [him] a Ghanaian entrepreneur and political leader of the Progressive People’s Party.

“Birim Group itself is a murky LLC whose members the complaint does not identify. It does not claim to have had any dealings with Dr. Nduom or the other defendants. Rather, Birim Group claims to have paid for the claims of two Ghanaian citizens, Mavis Amanpene Sekyere and Nana Kwame Twum Barimah (the “Assignors”), who have what at most amounts to breach-of-contract claims under Ghanaian law against Ghanaian bank GN Bank and Ghanaian investment firm Gold Coast Fund Management (“GCFM”) (collectively, the “Ghanaian Defendants”),” the document filed by Nduom stated.

The plaintiff in the suit alleged that Groupe Nduom engaged in many illegalities for the “sole personal financial benefit of the Nduom family”, and used his businesses as a conduit to “facilitate the unlawful acts”.

According to the writ, the plaintiff’s assignors “are victims of defendants’ fraudulent, avaricious and criminal conduct perpetrated on more than a million unsuspecting depositors who have lost their life savings because of defendants’ unlawful acts.”

Reference was also made to the recent clean-up in Ghana’s financial sector where the plaintiff claims “a substantial portion of its [GN Bank] loans were illegally made to Nduom-related entities without the benefit of appropriate risk assessments, managements or determinants”.

But Dr. Nduom has denied all the claims.

He argued that the plaintiff has no direct business with him or the other defendants, and therefore does not have a case.

“This motion is brought by more than a dozen US Defendants named in the complaint but who have never met, spoken to, or be involved in any transaction with either Assignor. This includes Dr. Nduom and his immediate family; GN-IL, a Chicago bank in which Dr. Nduom invested, as well as GN-IL’s outside directors and CEO, and three other companies owned in part by members of the Nduom family.”

“Ultimately, the complaint fails to state a claim against any of the US Defendants. It cannot do so because none of the US Defendants had anything to do with the Assignors. As such, the complaint is properly dismissed with prejudice against the US Defenders.”

Among the many reliefs being sought by Birim Group LLC, acting as assignors, are a, “treble compensatory damages, as well as consequential, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by trial.

They also want the court to order “disgorgement of all profits, benefits and other compensation obtained by defendants including all ill-gotten gains from their illegal and criminal activities.”

In reaction to this, Group Nduom believes the “complainant ultimately fails against the US defendant because no US defendant is alleged to have done anything to cause either the Assignor harm – and the focus must be on the Assignors.”

“Birim Group had no business with the defendant but says it paid assignors’ claims so it could file this case.”

The defendants reiterate the suspicion of “a political smear and not a legitimate use of the Court to resolve a legal dispute” as the rationale behind the case because, according to them, the Assignors’ losses are $52,219 and $30,000, respectively, contrary to what they say is overblown by the Birim Group.

Groupe Nduom on April 5, 2021, filed a motion asking for dismissal of the case.

 

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