Minority questions Keli Gadzekpo’s BoG board membership…threatens court action

Haruna Iddrisu (Left) –Minority Leader in Parliament

The minority in parliament has raised concerns about composition of the 13-member board of the Bank of Ghana, saying: “one of them [board members] runs a pension scheme and still plays other roles,” suggesting a conflict of interest situation.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu threatened court action over the issue at a press conference, and B&FT understands that the member in question is Keli Gadzekpo – who is an external director at the Bank of Ghana and also a group CEO at Enterprise Group.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament House – on the CHRAG findings against the Finance Minister in relation to the US$2.25m bond issuance – Mr. Iddrisu explained that the CHRAG report cites conflict of interest, breach of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) and the constitution.

The board members include Dr. Ernest Addison as Chairman; Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, Charles Adu-Boahen, Dr. Sr. Eugenia Amporfu and Keli Gadzekpo.

Others are Dr. Kwame Owusu-Nyantekyi, Dr. Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, Jude Kofi Bucknor, Joseph B. Alhassan, Andrew Boye-Doe, Dr. Maria Hagan, Comfort Ocran, and Caroline Otoo.

On the CHRAG report in relation to the US$2.25m bond issuance, the minority raised issues with the bond’s denomination, stating that the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds issued in March/April 2017 were domestic bonds (cedi-denominated) and open to non-resident investors – but the statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on 3rd April, 2017 misled the public into believing the bonds were dollar denominated.

“The MoF, on realising that the statement it issued on 3rd April, 2017 was inaccurate, removed it from its website; but at the time of this decision, the MoF had not yet replaced it with the more accurate statement,” Mr. Iddrisu read.

Again, the BoG and MoF breached the time required for notice – a lapse that the Minority says cannot be excused.

The Minority also added that the two institutions as well as their joint book runners (JBRs), bond advisers and officials have been using the procedure since 2015.

CHRAJ notes that: “In terms of the 7-year and 15-year bonds, the BoG gave only one day’s notice to the market on availability of the 7-year and 15-year bonds prior to commencement of trading, instead of two weeks as required for new products under the BoG guidelines”.

Minister must resign

Furthermore, the minority contended that based on the willful breaches of Ghanaian law, guidelines and processes in the bond issuance, the Finance Minister has made his continuous stay in office untenable – and they demand his immediate resignation, or dismissal and subsequent prosecution.

According to Ato Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has been indicted in the report; and since he failed to declare his assets, he has to resign immediately.

“We expect the President to relieve him of office; if he fails to do so, we will invoke Article 82 of the Constitution – which deals with censure.”

Article 82(1) of the Constitution stipulates that Parliament may, by a resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-third of all its members, pass a vote of censure on a Minister of State.