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Business News of Saturday, 21 July 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Stop hostility against uniBank – MP chides BoG

Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga is unhappy with how the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has handled issues relating to uniBank and others in the purchase of adb bank shares.

Isaac Adongo sees the move by the regulatory body as a calculated one aimed at collapsing the bank whose management has been handed over to accounting firm, KPMG.

“BoG should stop this regulatory hostility against uniBank and the people who are interested in helping uniBank to survive,” the MP said on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newfile on Saturday.

The MPs comment is in relation to the cancelation of the acquisition of 51 percent of adb Bank by a consortium led by investor Belstar Capital. The BoG said the shares had been inappropriately acquired, hence its decision to annul it.

The Central Bank also banned all directors appointed to adb’s board by the consortium adding that the shares acquired by Belstar and an affiliate were acquired “under questionable circumstances” with funds it had earlier advanced to the distressed uniBank.

BoG’s statement on Monday accused Belstar and Starmount of engaging in other questionable, unsafe, and unsound transactions involving uniBank to the detriment of Ghana’s financial system.

“The Bank of Ghana considers that Belstar and Starmount are not fit and proper persons and (it) cannot permit them to continue to hold shares acquired directly or indirectly in adb,” it stated.

But Mr Adongo described as false the BoG’s claims that uniBank diverted funds it was given to support it for the purchase of the shares.

He claims to have seen transaction records of other banks, adding, on the day uniBank was given GHS400 million by the BoG, three other banks on the interbank market had also given them GHS350 million.



“The total shares in question were bought at 320 million cedis so even the interbank borrowing was enough to settle the transaction,” he said, adding that uniBank paid back the money loaned them by the BoG the day after they received the funds.

“So how on earth could you have taken short term to buy long-term and on the next day settle. So it cannot be that they gave the money BOG gave them to Belstar to purchase the shares.”

Granted that uniBank had not paid back the GHS400 million to the BoG, Mr Adongo said funds the bank had received on the interbank market was enough,”so to suggest that this is where the money came from is farfetched. Not even dealing with the deposits of their clients.”

In the MPs view the BoG has no business in telling uniBank how to deal with its clients and for them to go ahead and annul a transaction undertaken by its clients was wrong.

“The facts just don’t speak to what they are doing,” he stressed.



Mr Adongo fears that the BoG’s actions will harm investor confidence, especially at the time when local banks are struggling to raise the minimum capital requirement of GHS400 million to remain in business.

“Which investor will read this narrative and bring their money to Ghana to invest in banks…the motivation is that uniBank must go down,” he added.

But a former lecturer at that Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) says the MP is politicising the issue he described as “sensitive”.

Dr Gideon Boako, who is also a spokesperson for the vice president said there is no way the BoG would have acted the way it did if nothing fishy went on with the transaction.

“It is a very sensitive matter so when I see people approach it with political colours, I get worried. We have seen the new crop of leadership at the Central Bank bringing some credibility and discipline within the banking system to ensure sanity.

“That does not have anything to do with politics,” he added.

Dr Boako said it was absurd for anyone to think the BoG will deliberately bring down an indigenous bank and that when it says the transaction was done under questionable circumstances, then it must have been so.

“We may want to do politics with this but I have adequate briefing and information on this transaction …we are making the things look so pedestrian with politics.”