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General News of Thursday, 12 December 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

TUC defends its approval of Fortiz-Merchant Bank deal

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has broken its silence on the controversial sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz after accusations by a civil society group it failed to protect the best interest of workers.

According to the TUC General Secretary, Mr. Kofi Asamoah - who represents organised labour on the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Board - the deal is in the best interest of SSNIT contributors.

"Indeed everybody who has been following...the bank knows the disastrous situation that the bank was in. The bank had been on support services all along. So the issue about sale has been there on the board until it was concluded some few weeks ago", the TUC General Secretary stated.

Rejecting accusation by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) that TUC has been compromised, Mr Asamoah however explained organised labour will soon come out with a report on reasons for approving the deal.

"As far as we are concerned, nothing has gone amiss in terms of representing the interest of workers on the board. We have been quiet because we are really gathering a lot of things to strengthen our position on [the decision to approve the sale]", he said.

TUC has scheduled a meeting with Fortiz Private Equity Fund next week to discuss the deal.

The meeting, according to Mr Asamoah, forms part moves to take a position on the sale of the bank.

Already, organised labour has held separate meetings with the staff of Merchant Bank to understand their concerns as well as officials of SSNIT to understand their position and role in the transaction.

The Bank of Ghana approved the sale of Merchant Bank Ghana, which was owned by SSNIT, to Fortiz. But the deal has generated severe controversy due to claims of a lack of transparency.

Mr Andrew Awuni, Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA), has filed a writ at the Commercial Division of the High Court to challenge the sale of the bank.

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