Senior Research Fellow at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr. Kojo Asante has backed calls for a public hearing
Parliament’s decision to have an in-camera hearing into Ghana’s bank crisis has been criticised as a needless waste of time.
Senior Research Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD–Ghana), Dr. Kojo Asante said other state institutions like Economic and Organised Crimes Office and the Bank of Ghana are already investigating events leading to the collapse of seven banks in 12 months.
If Parliament wants to have a bite at the issue, it must be a public hearing if the probe is to be relevant, Dr. Kojo Asante explained.
Last Wednesday, Parliament chose the Finance committee for the parliamentary inquiry following the 1 August 2018 announcement by the Bank of Ghana that it has set up the Consolidated Bank of Ghana to take over the assets and liabilities of five local banks to bite the dust as did UT and Capital banks a year ago.
These banks are uniBank Ghana, the Royal Bank, the BEIGE Bank, the Sovereign Bank and the Construction Bank.
Five Managing Directors of the dissolved banks: L-R: Stephen Kpordzih (Construction Bank) Osei Asafo – Adjei (Royal Bank) Dr Duffuor II (uniBank), Johan Rheeder (Sovereign Bank) , Mike Nyinaku (Beige Bank)
The 25-member Finance committee is expected to focus on the role of the Bank of Ghana in causing the collapse of the banks and determine to which extent central bank officials are culpable.
The Finance minister who could be facing members of the Finance committee has revealed that government has had to pump 5.6bn cedis to bail out the affected banks.
Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, has said a full-scale investigations, which will see directors and shareholders of the defunct banks, will face the committee. It will take seven days.
There are fears a public probe could further dampen public confidence because of more revelations of wrongdoing.
But explaining the benefits of holding public hearings, the governance expert Dr. Kojo Asante said that public confidence in the financial system will improve because there is a visible response to deal with the crisis.
Dr. Kojo Asante said the processes of dealing with the failed banks are as important as the results.
“Sometimes when you want to purge a system you need to go through some of these processes,” he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday.
He said Parliament is well positioned to deal with the matter because the public have a vested interest in knowing circumstances surrounding the collapse.
At EOCO however, ” nobody really knows who has been called and what questions have been asked.” Parliament can therefore deepen accountability with a proper and thought out probe.
The plan to finish the probe within seven days, he said, does not show any serious attempt to deal with the serious issues in the financial services sector.
The last Parliamentary probe looked into allegations that the presidency was used for profiteering. It took more than three weeks to submit a report.