… calls for support to retrieve GH¢19bn from shareholders of collapsed firms
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison, has said that attempts by some shareholders and owners of the collapsed financial institutions to frustrate the legal processes ongoing to demand accountability from them will not suffice.
According to him, the central bank and receivers of the collapsed financial institutions are bent on recouping the GH¢19billion of taxpayers’ money spent on settling depositors after the financial sector clean-up that saw nine banks and 411 Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) go down.
Speaking at the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries Business Forum, Dr. Addison said the recent decision by the BoG to abstain from a Parliamentary Committee to answer a petition by some shareholders of defunct UT Bank and uniBank is to ensure that the due legal processes ongoing are not further delayed.
He said, already, some of the shareholders have slowed the ongoing legal processes with many counter-suits and the parliamentary petition is intended to further drag matters.
“Running to parliament to seek redress for the revocation of an institution’s licence is not one of the processes laid down under the law for those who feel aggrieved over a licence revocation by the Bank of Ghana. There are already a number of actions filed in court and at arbitration by the same persons who run to parliament for cover-up, and the Bank of Ghana’s simple response to parliament is, respectfully, to allow the pending legal processes to run their course,” Dr. Addison said.
He recalled that in September 2018, the 7th Parliament undertook a formal inquiry into the financial sector clean-up, the key factors that led to it, and the manner in which it was carried out. The Bank of Ghana cooperated fully with the committee and provided all the necessary information to assist its members to reach their own conclusions, he noted.
Dr. Addison explained that the central bank had hoped the committee would have made available its report to Parliament and the public after deliberations, but that is yet to happen. He called on the public to support the receivers in being able to retrieve all properties of the defunct financial firms and prosecute the shareholder to recover the over-GH¢19billion bailout fund used to settle depositors’ funds.
He said the monies need to retrieved and reinjected into stimulating the economy. “While the legal processes in court and at arbitration run their course, we would respectfully ask that Parliament and indeed all Ghanaians take a serious view of the GH¢19billion government had to provide out of taxpayers’ money to settle claims of depositors – following the mismanagement and siphoning-out of several billions of Ghana cedis from the defunct institutions by their shareholders.
“We all need to lend our support to the receivers to help retrieve this amount of money and reallocate it to productive uses in building our economy going forward – particularly in the midst of the pandemic.”
The Governor also used the opportunity to request the Finance Committee of Parliament to make public its investigative report on the banking sector clean-up exercise, which was conducted in 2018.
He reiterated that the clean-up exercise was necessitated by the urgent need to protect the financial system from institutions which had become insolvent and unable to meet depositor withdrawals – due to erosion of their capital base through excessive risk-taking, mismanagement, and poor corporate governance.
According to him, the move led to the building a strong financial sector that has been able to support economic resilience amid the ravages of COVID-19.