Ghanaian-based business conglomerate, Groupe Nduom is fighting off US-based Birim Group LLC’s claims of money laundering and wire fraud.
The Groupe has described the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs as one full of aspersions and innuendos.
It has, therefore, filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The Group has brought charges against the founder and former flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom.
In a writ sighted by myjoyonline, Groupe Nduom, is being accused of laundering a total of $63,000,000.
“The Nduom family defendants, by and through their ownership, control and use of defendants GN Bank, Gold Coast Fund Management and over 60 undercapitalised interrelated companies, collected several million dollars of depositor’s saving, investment contributions and insurance premiums, and in violation of U.S. and Ghana laws illegally laundered approximately $63,000,000 of depositors’ funds through its Virginia-based sham ‘procurement and consulting service’ company, International Business Solutions,” it stated.
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.”
But the Ghanaian-based business says the complainant’s legal action is a mere attempt to denigrate their reputation through the courts.
“Birim Group, LLC’s complaint misuses this Court to smear a Ghanaian entrepreneur and political leader, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, founder of the Ghana 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”),” their statement said.
Dr Nduom, his wife Yvonne Nduom, their children, Nana Kweku Nduom, Edjah Nduom and Nana Aba Nduom in their official capacities in the business are all named as defendants in the suit.
But the lawyers for Groupe Nduom indicated that the complaint filed at Illinois in the US contains outrageous allegations based on nothing other than the Birim Group’s supposed information and belief.
“Birim Group plainly did not buy these claims to recover Ghanaian deposits, but rather for a pretext to malign Dr Nduom, his family and anyone who does business with him,” the Groupe’s counsellors said.
Group Nduom also addressed the complainant’s premise that corporate forms should be disregarded and each defendant deemed an alter ego.
“In lieu of factual allegations as to each defendant, the complaint alleges that all corporate forms should be disregarded and each defendant should be deemed an alter ego, not just of each other defendant, but also of each employee of each corporate defendant, including the Ghanaian Defendants. No facts are alleged to support this extraordinary conclusion. Instead, the complaint.”
Among the many relief being sought, 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.
“The complaint, in this case, is an object lesson in why Rule 9(b) exists and applies to RICO and fraud-based claims. Birim Group bought and paid for the right to bring this complaint, including on behalf of an Assignor who is pursuing the same substantive claim where it belongs — in a Ghanaian court against a Ghanaian defendant.
“The Assignors losses are $52,219 and $30,000, respectively. So why did Birim Group buy the claims and file such an overblown complaint, invoking RICO, multiple frauds and tort theories? The answer was stated at the outset: because this case is a political smear and not a legitimate use of the Court to resolve a legal dispute.”
Groupe Nduom’s motion to dismiss the case was filed on April 5, 2021.