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Business News of Friday, 16 March 2012

Source: GNA

We did no wrong-SAS

Strategic African Securities (SAS) and its associates said on Friday that they acted professionally and in the best interest of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) when it advised it on the TTB/ECOBANK merger.

“We did our work in a most transparent manner and there was no conflict of interest whatsoever,” SAS said in a statement, in reaction to allegations pressure group, Association for Accountable Governance (AFAG), made at a press conference.

The statement said SAS was not aware of any valuation carried out by PriceWaterHouse (PWC) and that SSNIT never gave PWC a mandate to value the shares of TTB.

It said SAS was also not aware of offers made by Swiss Investment Bank and the Rand Bank of South Africa and added “Our mandate was specific - to advise SSNIT on the ECOBANK/TTB merger.”

“TTB had very well-informed international shareholders who were represented on its Board. They would have brought this to our attention if indeed there was such an offer,” the statement said.

It said SAS adopted universally recognized methodologies in the valuation of TTB and got the best possible price for SSNIT, which is GH¢ 12.62/share.

The total valuation of GH¢220.85 million compares most favorably with the GH¢150 million market valuation of SG-SSB Bank which made GH¢23 million in 2011, same as AFAG quoted for TTB.

On AFAG’s allegation that Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of Asogli State and the Chief Executive Officer of SAS, dissolved the TTB Board, the statement said “it beggars belief that anyone could make such a statement” because Togbe Afede is not a member of the Bank.

The statement said the GHc14 per share valuation was just the imagination of AFAG and that the difference between AFAG’s “imaginary valuation” and the GH¢12.62 per share TTB was sold is GH¢1.38.

It said TTB had 17.5 million shares outstanding and given AFAG’s imaginary valuation, the so- called loss would have been GH¢24.15 million and not GH¢112 or GH¢179 million.

The statement said it was misleading to suggest that SSNI gave Togbe Afede an ultra Modern building to manage “with the right to lease the other multiple offices to any other agency.”

It explained that Strategic Initiatives Ltd (SIL), an associated company of SAS, acquired the sole franchise to operate a “World Trade Centre” in Ghana to promote international trade and investment and to enhance the economic development of the country.

“SIL and SSNIT should be lauded for collaborating to establish World Trade Centre Accra, and for eventually bringing the property to the best possible commercial use. SAS is a paying tenant and not simply comfortably occupying the last floor,” the statement said.**

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