A section of Ghanaians resident in London say suspicions that the Asantehene Otumfuor Osei-Tutu’s is linked to money laundering is a dent on their good reputation in the United Kingdom.
They say for many years, people from Ghana have enjoyed cordial relations and trust from others nationals in the UK, and such allegations involving a revered figure in Ghanaians society brings that into disrepute.
The Asantehene is embroiled in a controversial bank transaction in the UK which resulted in the sacking of the second most senior official of the Ghana International Bank.
Otumfuor Osei Tutu in 2016 gave Mark Arthur a bag containing almost £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 in US currency with consecutive serial numbers, to be deposited into his account with the Ghana International Bank and then move $200,000 to an account at Standard bank in Jersey.
The deposit of the cash however triggered a money laundering alert in the City of London. Investigations by the bank led to the suspension of Mr Arthur and his subsequent dismissal from the bank.
The bank said he had failed to follow anti-money laundering rules and had violated security policies as it was only insured to carry cash by armored car up to a maximum of £250,000.
Mr Arthur, who has now dragged the bank to court is claiming wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and failure to protect a whistleblower.
The Manhyia palace has debunked any suggestions that the King did anything wrong, and indeed the news, first brought into the limelight by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, does not cite him for any wrong doing. It is rather the Mark Arthur who have been accused of not following laid down anti-money laundering guidelines in how he handled the money.
These notwitstanding, some Ghanaian residents in London who spoke with PrimeNewsGhana said it is extremely unusual for anyone to deposit such a large amount of money in cash in bank, and the fact that a King in Ghana has done that, buys into the stereotype that African leaders siphon monies from the poor into accounts in the West.
One who pleaded anonymity asked “why will the Chief carry such a large amount of cash, why couldn’t he simply use the banking system from wherever he picked the money from, instead of creating this unnecessary suspicion by dealing in cash.”
Another said he has become an object of ridicule for colleages at work who tease him to stop working because his King has brought him a large amount of money from Ghana ” They just showed me the newspaper article and said jokingly how come I am working so hard when my King is rich, well I responded they should also stop working because queen Elizabeth is rich” he said.
Hearing in London continues in a suit against the Ghana International Bank, filed by Mark Arthur in relation to his dismissal.