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Opinions of Thursday, 9 August 2018

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Searchlight on the banking scandal – part 1

In our article titled Shylock and the Failed Banks; What PR practitioners should do, we suggested guiding principles that should enable public relations professionals craft a response to the banking crisis.

We urged them to use truth and integrity to communicate in a timely fashion with the public at large.

So we salute the management of KPMG Ghana for clarifying its position on Wednesday in relation to the bank failures.

‘The misinformation seeks to link KPMG as analysers of the 2017 Ghana Banking Awards and evaluators of the performance of some banks recently affected by Bank of Ghana’s Resolution actions and, therefore questions the present role of KPMG in assisting the Central Bank in the related engagements,’ a press statement signed by Amanor Dodoo, Senior Partner of KPMG stated as the reason for the press statement.

The statement went on to explain that KPMG was involved in the Ghana Banking Awards from 2001 to 2012 only.

It couldn’t therefore have been part of the assessment which gave the failed banks any of the recent awards.

However, the statement left in its trail a smoking gun.

Numerous relevant questions must be addressed. They include;

Why will anyone seek to malign KPMG and not the other accounting and auditing firms? Who are the auditors of the 28 banks? Why haven’t the auditors of the failed banks come out to say anything to the public? Have our marketing, advertising and public relations practitioners connived with auditors and banks to deceive us? How can we accept that a product being advertised by a media house or organization is credible when in three years from now, we’ll hear that it was all fake? We are compiling many questions including the above.

As a public relations and integrated communications firm, we seek to be the moral and intellectual guide to the excellent practice of public relations and integrated communications around the world, beginning with Ghana.

The questions we keep receiving suggest that, as a developing nation, all the effort we are putting into attracting both local and foreign direct investment to create jobs for Ghanaians may have gone down the drain through the unprofessional and possibly illegal acts of business leaders.

In a society where literacy in English is only 15 percent (2010 Population and Housing Census), the highly schooled elite shoulder a great responsibility.

They must be transparent and public spirited at all times.

They must not cheat the masses.

It is only fair that for our own good we come clean with the facts about how these banks were audited and who the auditors were.

By now they should have owned up.

They should be ready to explain to us why to date they have not owned up.

The full reports of the banking awards criteria should also be published in the national daily newspapers, the Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times, as has been the industry best practice for some time.

We shall compile these questions and publish them both on our website and in the Ghanaian media.

It is our expectation, however, that within the next 48 hours, all the affected public relations practitioners, auditors, marketers, advertisers, accountants, lawyers and regulatory agencies connected with this banking scandal will come out with clear answers to the above listed questions.

We trust that for the sake of our country especially the working men and women who play by the rules, the schooled elite will show the relevance of their knowledge and accumulated privileges.

Let us remember the stark lessons of history.

Our organisation, Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited will seek to guide this national debate with tenacity, logic and even-handedness until the whole truth is exposed.

We are convinced that this is exactly what is required to move our country forward.

We trust that the vast majority of our people will cooperate with and assist us.

Writers Shakespeares- clarity and precision

The writer is the managing consultant of Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited, a PR and integrated communications firm.


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