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General News of Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Source: dailymailgh.com

You’ve been a good friend until I became Speaker – Bagbin clashes with Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

There was a mini showdown in Parliament on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, between the Speaker, Alban Bagbin and his long-time friend Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, leader of the majority side.

Bagbin had referred a petition by former governor of Bank of Ghana Dr Kwabena Duffuor over the collapse of uniBank to a yet-to-be formed seven-member committee of the House.

The petition which was laid by Bawku Central lawmaker, Mahama Ayariga was challenged by Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, arguing the matter was before a court.

Bagbin then overruled his assertion which resulted in a back forth between the two good friends.

“You don’t lead Parliament. You lead the business of the House. You lead the majority and you lead government business. As to the role of Speaker you’ve not been there yet. When you get there you’ll do so,” Bagbin said.

Then he went on to question the authenticity of their friendship ever since he got elevated.

“You’ve been my good friend from all these years until I became Speaker. Everybody in Ghana was doubting whether indeed you were really my friend. I’ve received a lot of calls about us and I said you’re my friend and you’re still my friend. Please don’t give credence to that,” Bagbin stressed before overruling Mensah-Bonsu‘s challenge.

The petition

Two bank owners whose financial outfits were collapsed by the Bank of Ghana in 2017/18 have petitioned Parliament to have their licences restored.

The former CEO of defunct UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, and owner of collapsed uniBank Ghana Limited, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, want the legislature to probe the conduct of the Bank of Ghana in revocating their licences.

Below are their reliefs:

UT Bank

i) Investigate the conduct of the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Stock Exchange for the revocation of UT Bank’s licence and delisting the bank without due regard to the rules of Administrative Justice guaranteed under Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.

ii) Direct the restoration of the banking licence of UT Bank Limited by the Bank of Ghana and the remedying of the harms done the shareholders’ property rights as a result of the conduct of the Bank of Ghana.

uniBank

i) Investigate the conduct of the Bank of Ghana in the takeover, the appointment of an Official Administrator of uniBank Ghana Limited and the circumstances surrounding the revocation of the banking licence of uniBank Ghana Limited;

ii) Direct the restoration of the banking licence of uniBank Ghana Limited by the Bank of Ghana and the remedying of the harms done to the shareholders’ property rights as a result of the conduct of the Bank of Ghana.

Revocation of licences

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) in August 2018 announced that it has revoked the licences of five banks and put them together as Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.

The banks were uniBank Ghana Limited, The Royal Bank Limited, Beige Bank Limited, Sovereign Bank Limited, and Construction Bank Limited and appointed Nii Amanor Dodoo of KPMG as the Receiver for the five banks.

Prior to the amalgamation of the five banks, the Central Bank had closed down UT Bank and Capital Bank in August 2017.

Reasons for closure

uniBank, according to the BoG, was identified during the Asset Quality Review update in the 2016 exercise to be significantly undercapitalised and beyond rehabilitation.

“Shareholders, related and connected parties had taken amounts totalling GH¢3.7 billion which were neither granted through the normal credit delivery process nor reported as part of the bank’s loan portfolio.

“In addition, amounts totalling GH¢1.6 billion had been granted to shareholders, related and connected parties in the form of loans and advances without due process and in breach of relevant provisions of Act 930.

“Altogether, shareholders, related and connected parties of uniBank had taken out an amount of GH¢5.3 billion from the bank, constituting 75 percent of total assets of the bank,” the Central Bank explained back in 2018.

On UT Bank, the Central Bank stated in a press release: “This action has become necessary due to severe impairment of their capital.”

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