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General News of Sunday, 9 September 2018


Parliamentary probe into banking crisis ‘not satisfactory’ – Franklin Cudjoe

IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, does not think the just ended parliamentary probe into the banking crisis will bear much fruit.

Mr. Cudjoe said the probe has “done very little unless, of course, there is the second part of it.”

His position stems from the fact that the owners and directors of the affected banks were not invited to appear before the committee.
“No serious committee can get to the bottom of this matter if did not talk to the owners, or indeed the shareholders of the Bank,” he remarked on The Big Issue.

The Finance Committee of Parliament on Friday ended its three-day hearing on the banking sector crisis from September 5 to September 7.

Only representatives from the Bank of Ghana, Consolidated Bank, KPMG, PwC and the Ministry of Finance, appeared before the committee to provide perspectives on the development.

Despite petitions to the Speaker to open up the process and make it public, the hearing was held in camera.

The committee is expected to produce a report on the matter, and include recommendations and present to the plenary.

But in Mr. Cudjoe’s view, there has been a lack of nuance to the committee’s approach.

“These are matters we have heard being told us by the bank, Central Bank. I have not particularly heard anything novel, to the extent that it was heard in-camera… It seems to me that we are understanding these matters in silos.”

“If we really wanted to understand what has happened, we cannot be talking to persons in silos, have reports dished out in bits and pieces and it is not helping,” the IMANI boss said.

There are reports suggesting that the Consolidated Bank will lay off 1,700 workers out of the 3,700 staff that it assumed from the five collapsed banks that were merged by the Bank of Ghana.

Capital Bank and UT Bank, which collapsed in August 2017, also left their trail of employee casualties.

Mr. Cudjoe said persons who had lost their jobs deserved a more thorough probe.

“It will be the utmost duty to be done to the people who have lost jobs to understand exactly what role their proprietors, their handlers, their managers, their shareholders played as against talking to regulators.”

Adongo’s walk

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, Isaac Adongo, also felt there was a lack of rigor to the committee process.

Mr. Adongo, a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, stormed out of the first hearing on Wednesday describing it as a “rubber stamp process.”

Mr. Adongo expected that he would have in his possession documents pertaining to the asset quality reviews, among others,

“These are the documents they gave to us; statement of the banking sector, press release by the Bank of Ghana, Governor’s speech. When it comes to KPMG, they only give you conditions and opinions of uniBank.”

The MP insisted that “those documents will give me a clearer understanding of what happened and not what the government tells me. I must read the documents and ask the Governor the appropriate questions.”