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Feature Article of Thursday, 19 July 2012

Columnist: Agbley, Isaac Komla

ECOBANK Goes On Defense For Fiifi Kwetey.

I am disgusted and disappointed to read the quick response from Ecobank with the headline “TTB acquisition was not to create a bigger bank”, as a cover up for the murder case involving the Deputy Minister of Finance Mr Fiifi Kwetey, an indirect response to my recent article with headline “A Deputy Minister fingered in the Murder of Trust Bank Director”.

Myjoyonline and Ghanaweb respectively published Ecobank’s article yesterday 17th July which the Group Chief Executive of ECOBANK Arnold Epke has denied that the bank’s acquisition of The Trust Bank (TTB) was just to become a big bank to undertake huge transactions. Mr. Epke reiterated that the ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated, the parent company of ECOBANK, last year acquired TTB for 220 million Ghana cedis and merged it with ECOBANK Ghana.

The undeniable fact on the ground is that the dark clouds that surrounded the ECOBANK and TTB merger have mysteriously led to one assassination of a refined Ghanaian banker and respectable family man in order to masquerade the obvious dubious acts perpetuated by some people in power. As a close family friend, my conscience has consistently given me grieves and sleepless nights, and I cannot allow this atrocious act meted out to my friend Mr Kwadwo Asare Boakye Yiadom by this known notorious deputy minister of finance Mr Fiifi Kwetey to remain as surreptitious.

The late Mr K.A. Boakye Yiadom was the Deputy Managing Director of The Trust Bank and doubled as one of the main managers holding talks during the proposed merger of The Trust Bank and ECOBANK in 2011, and because of his strong stance to the takeover as a man of principles, and his declaration of an intention or determination to expose those perfidious characters behind the sharing of the alleged GH¢9.8 million as severance packages without the approval of the board of the TTB, he has met untimely death as a resultant. Mrs Naomi Kwetey (Wife of Fiifi Kwetey) who happened to be the head of finance was alleged to have bagged GH¢1.2 million.

I believe that, the immediate past solemn remembrance of the three High Court judges who were abducted from their homes and killed 30 years ago still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians, then talking of the clandestine murder of a Ghanaian former Vice President “Stubborn Cat” Kow Nkensen Arkaah in a plotted accident by some unscrupulous people in power, therefore one will not be scandalized to hear the recent murder of Mr K.A. Boakye Yiadom Deputy Managing Director of The Trust Bank, who has also been killed in a similar clandestine way on 15th January 2012, on Atomic Energy Road near Kwabenya, by Mr Kwetey’s hired assassins. The Atomic Police Report has since maintained their experts believe that “they suspect a foul play in the death of Mr Boakye Yiadom in the accident” since they found the driver’s side window glass broken into after the accident and the signs indicating among other things that the driver was strangled to death. Though, the perpetuators made it look as if the driver died instantly in such a minor accident. Mr Boakye Yiadom has eventually been buried on 31st March, but up to today no arrest has been made.

Notwithstanding this, some family members and some dearest friends have become extremely furious upon hearing that one known outspoken member in the family has allegedly been given GHC95000 by Mr Fiifi Kwetey and his cohorts to help stop people in the family talking about this issue.
Curiously enough, the merger talks between the two entities for some reasons rather generated very serious public debates with some constituents and other personalities protesting and demonstrating against the proposed merger. The controversies were not like a foreign company taking over a local company but two local banks with the same shareholder merging the operations of the two entities. However, the difference is that Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has more than 60 per cent stake in TTB as against 0.9 per cent in ECOBANK and therefore one wonders the rational between the sale or merger of the bigger entity by SSNIT to ECOBANK. During the tussle, I sighted some exclusive documents which indicated that some entities valued the entire TTB at a market price of GH¢220 million or US$145 million at a value of GH¢12.62 per share. This offer was made to only SSNIT excluding the other shareholders with SSNIT being the majority shareholder in 2011, though the SSNIT objected to a merger talks between HFC Bank and TTB Earlier in the previous year.

The regulator of the banking system, the Bank of Ghana was practically accused of its poor handling of the merger as some people thought the merger was tantamount to limiting competition particularly in the banking system. As the result, there was widespread of protests against the deal. Two pro-government groups, one called BRIDGE and the other, the Coalition for the Protection of Individual Liberties and Constitutional Rights (COPCOR), who called on the government to intervene and block the proposed sale. The Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA) later joined the fray, claiming that the sale of TTB to ECOBANK would collapse the road construction industry yet the government was adamant. It immerged that several customers of TTB moved their business elsewhere to avoid such a fate knowing the acquisition would go ahead. Unfortunately, this panic created an undue opportunity for top managers of The Trust Bank to pay themselves millions as redundancy package due to the takeover of the bank by ECOBANK as reported.
Naomi Kwetey, wife of a deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning was said to have taken share out of this money. Subsequently, there were other publications intimating that Deputy Finance Minister Fiifi Kwetey may sue Western Publications Ghana Ltd, publishers of the Daily Guide newspaper for libel. In playing fast on this matter, there were concocted documents dated December 14, 2011 made available to DAILY GUIDE and published in 9 January 2012 with a headline “TTB Saga: Fiifi Kwetey’s Wife Cleared” with an intention just to adumbrate that indeed there was some kind of communications between the outgoing Managing Director of TTB, Larry Yirenkyi-Boafo and Samuel Ashittey Adjei about the package. I can say now on authority that, that was only meant to through dust into the eyes of Ghanaians. In Ghana today, the threat of suing people in court has become an ideal strategy been adopted mostly by many politicians just to frighten people talking about some of these pertinent issues.
I hope everyone’s guess would be that Fiifi Kwetey shall gather a bit of courage enough to meet me in court on this matter. I wish I could have a bit of confidence in our President and Attorney General to help expose these politicians that use their positions for their selfish interests.

Mr Isaac Komla Agbley
Ashongman Estate
Kwabenya, Accra
isaac.agbley@yahoo.com

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