Banking rot: OccupyGhana calls for ‘ruthless action’


Banks consolidation: Bank owners, BoG officials who issued fake licences must be jailed – Analyst


BoG Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, has taken very firm actions in the banking sector since he took office last year

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has called on the government to probe the collapse of seven banks and punish persons found to have breached prudential or banking regulations.

“We call on the Government not only to make public the results of all investigations conducted but to ensure that the law (both civil and criminal) is made and allowed to take its course without fear or favour.

“Those in management or other positions of trust who have been implicated and who have to lose their jobs, should lose their jobs. Those whose personal properties have to be seized and sold to pay back the public debt should be taken through the due process. And those who have committed crimes against the Republic should be ruthlessly and mercilessly prosecuted,” the pressure group made up of eminent Ghanaian professionals stated in a press release dated August 13, 2018.

The banking sector shook in August 2017 following news that Capital Bank and UT Bank’s liabilities overwhelmed their assets and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) assumed the responsibility of their assets and revoked their licences.

Details emerging recently from a report sanctioned by the BoG reveals that the two indigenous banks, hitherto touted as entrepreneurial successes of two respected Ghanaians, expended huge funds given to them as bailout to save them from collapse.

Related: GCB takeover as BoG withdraws licenses of UT, Capital Bank

The report indicates that UT Bank and Capital Bank were given a total of over GH¢1.47 billion of the taxpayer’s money. The report also stated that the handlers of the two private entities engaged in “willful deceit.”

A little over two weeks ago, Bank of Ghana also revoked the operating licences of five banks – Beige Capital, Sovereign Bank, Construction Bank, UniBank and Royal Bank – over breaches of banking laws similar to those of the two banks that collapsed last year.

The five banks have since been taken over and merged into Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.

OccupyGhana notes in the press release that details emerging from preliminary investigations into the rot in the banking sector suggest that, “Shareholders appeared to help themselves to depositors’ funds as if it was their personal ‘piggy banks.’ Directors and auditors apparently breached their fiduciary duties with reckless abandon. Directors also failed to exercise utmost good faith, shamelessly engaged in ultra vires transactions and other deals with conflict of interest and conflict of duty implications.”

The group says it is confident firm actions will be taken to protect the banking sector, which it describes as a critical sector of Ghana’s economy.

Read the full press release below.

13th August, 2018

PRESS RELEASE

OCCUPYGHANA CALLS FOR FIRM ACTION TO DEAL WITH ROT EMANATING FROM GHANA’S FINANCIAL SECTOR

OccupyGhana has followed closely, reports on the state of our financial sector, particularly with respect to some private, indigenous banks.

We are horrified at the several, repeated and blatant breaches of the law and rules of banking and corporate governance, plain theft, obvious fraud, naked bribery, undisguised money laundering and criminal causing of financial loss engaged in by regulators, industry players and practitioners, and possibly even auditors.

We are amazed that banks could be established in this country with next to no funds and sometimes with funds stolen from government bailout cash extended to other banks. Shareholders appeared to help themselves to depositors’ funds as if it was their personal “piggy banks.” Directors and auditors apparently breached their fiduciary duties with reckless abandon. Directors also failed to exercise utmost good faith, shamelessly engaged in ultra vires transactions and other deals with conflict of interest and conflict of duty implications.

We are shocked at the failure, refusal or neglect of regulators, in the face of several reports evidencing the obvious wrongs and impending collapse, to do anything to stem the tide or stop the flow, save pouring more bailout money into the banks without asking for collateral or even appointing advisers to control the use of the taxpayer’s monies.

We see near-fatal collapse of the hub of national development caused by the failure of regulatory authority and what is appearing to be major corruption linked to, especially the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana.

We can only wait with trepidation what we believe will be the exposure of further and deeper rot when the Central Bank sets to deal with other deposit-taking institutions such as the Microfinance and Savings & Loans companies.

This failure of regulation in one of, if not the most critical sector of our economy, calls for the firmest, most strident, ruthless and decisive action from the Central Bank and the Government. We urge the Government to act immediately to investigate, arrest and prosecute all culprits involved in all instances of fraud perpetrated against the state and theft of depositors’ and taxpayers’ monies.

Citizens have had to rescue the financial sector at least once before, in a major recovery of assets via the Non Performing Asset Recovery Trust (NPART) in the 1990s and we do not expect that we should have to relive that painful experience.

We call on the Government not only to make public the results of all investigations conducted, but to ensure that the law (both civil and criminal) is made and allowed to take its course without fear or favour.

Those in management or other positions of trust who have been implicated and who have to lose their jobs, should lose their jobs. Those whose personal properties have to be seized and sold to pay back the public debt should be taken through the due process. And those who have committed crimes against the Republic should be ruthlessly and mercilessly prosecuted.

We trust that the Government will act urgently and thoroughly to clean the sector of all criminal elements who have caused much damage to our wealth and future recovery.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana





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