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General News of Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Banking rot: OccupyGhana objects to in-camera hearing; petitions Speaker

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has presented its objection to the decision to probe the banking scandal behind closed doors in a strongly-worded petition.

The petition, addressed to the Speaker of Parliament states: “We, as members of the public whose taxes funded the bailout monies, would want to be reassured that there has been no cover-up in the inquiry because of the personalities involved in the instances of malpractice identified in the reports. Any sitting in-camera will breathe life into and give teeth to rumours that there are personalities behind huge kickback payments who are also cronies of politicians and who may be shielded by an in camera proceedings.”

Parliament’s Finance Committee announced on Tuesday that it will on Wednesday begin probing the collapse of seven indigenous banks in the country.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr Asibey Yeboah said they have agreed not to invite the directors of the closed banks.

According to him, representatives from the Central Bank, the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Finance Ministry are scheduled to appear before them and will answer questions on the issue.

“We have made it clear from the onset that we are inviting the institutions to have an in-camera hearing to garner first-hand information from them,” he said.



OccupyGhana, a pressure group made up of eminent Ghanaians, thinks the Finance Committee will be doing a great disservice to the public if the hearings are held in secret.

“An open process will restore public confidence in the beleaguered banking sector and go some way towards repairing its tarnished image,” the group said in the petition.



Read the full petition below.

OBJECTION TO SECRET HEARINGS ON BANKING CRISES

It has come to our attention that the Finance Committee of Parliament is set to conduct a probe into the failure of the 7 banks whose licences were withdrawn by the banking regulator, Bank of Ghana.

It is our considered view that holding such an important inquiry in-camera will not assuage the public hunger for truth in respect of the matters raised in the reports of Messrs KPMG and Boulders which are now in the public domain.

In the interest of transparency, we urge the committee to hold its hearings open to the public. We, as members of the public whose taxes funded the bailout monies, would want to be reassured that there has been no cover-up in the inquiry because of the personalities involved in the instances of malpractice identified in the reports. Any sitting in-camera will breathe life into and give teeth to rumours that there are personalities behind huge kickback payments who are also cronies of politicians and who may be shielded by an in camera proceedings.

The public would also want to ensure that depositors are protected and that any loopholes that enabled this conduct to go on unchallenged would be addressed by the committee with a view to legislating to ensure the circumstances enabling malpractice are curbed so there is no repeat in future.

An open process will restore public confidence in the beleaguered banking sector and go some way towards repairing its tarnished image.

We are firmly of the view that any inquiry should seek to address the following

1. Regulatory failures that enabled the issuing of licences to banks when those organisations did not meet the financial criteria

2. Failure of compliance monitoring by the regulator post issuing of licences

3. Failure of oversight by the regulator after the banks had accessed bailout loans

4. A review of the conditions imposed on the banks for the bailout loans.

5. What measures are to be implemented to prevent recurrence?

6. Prescribed punishment to persons who have been engaged in criminality

7. Recommendations

We trust that the Committee tasked to probe into these failures will consider what is best in the public interest and agree with us that an open hearing will ensure full transparency and is indeed what is best in the interest of the public.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana®

Cc.:

The Chairman

Finance Committee of Parliament

Parliament House

Accra