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General News of Friday, 13 December 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

Pressure over Merchant sale may be fruitless - Law lecturer

Senior Law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Ernest Kofi Abotsi has said the increasing political opposition to the sale of Merchant Bank to equity firm Fortiz may amount to nothing if all the sales and purchase agreements have been signed and sanctioned by the regulatory body.

Abotsi insists such takeovers are "matters of law" and until critics prove major breaches in rules of corporate governance have occurred, their protests will remain exactly what they are - political pressures.

His statements come shortly after six labour unions jointly held a press conference Friday to protest the controversial sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz.

The press conference, addressed by the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress Mr Kofi Asamoah demanded a freeze on the sale and demanded to know who the owners of Fortiz are and the source of funds for the transaction.

Fortiz is seeking to buy 90 per cent shares for 90 million cedis, a price critics have scoffed at and described as a rip-off of the Ghanaian tax payer whose Social Security contributions have been used to capitalise the Merchant Bank for many years.

Alliance for Accountable Governance, the Minority in Parliament and other civil society groups have all been vocal in their opposition to the sale.

The Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, a group led by Andrew Awuni former spokesperson for President John Kufuor is in court challenging the sale.

Organised labour is the latest group to voice their opposition to the sale.

Speaking on Joy News, Lawyer Kofi Abotsi deferred comments on the court case, saying it will be interesting what the court verdict will be.

On the numerous political manoeuvres, the senior law lecturer noted such antics may only pressurise some stakeholders to stop the deal but once the regulatory body gives the transaction a clean bill of health such pressures will amount to nothing.

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