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General News of Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Banking crisis: Public needs the truth, make hearings open – OccupyGhana

Pressure group OccupyGhana has made a last-ditch attempt to ensure the legislature’s probe into the banking crisis is made public.

The group in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament insists that making the hearings, which start today [Wednesday], public “will restore public confidence in the beleaguered banking sector and go some way towards repairing its tarnished image.”

Their appeal follows a similar petition by two citizens; Nana Adofo Ofori and Anthony Mifetoo, to the Speaker of Parliament pushing for a public hearing.

OccupGhana has argued 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.”

The public would also want to ensure that depositors are protected and that any loop holes 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.

It urged Parliament to place a premium on transparency.

“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.”



The Finance Committee of Parliament will hold hearings from September 5 to September 7.

Representatives from the Bank of Ghana, Consolidated Bank, KPMG, PwC and the Ministry of Finance are expected to appear before the hearing.

But owners and directors of the seven banks that have collapsed, some under controversial circumstances, will not be invited, according to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah.

A Ranking Member of the Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, explained that the hearings will not be public because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that considering what we call the sensitivity of the matter, Parliament’s committee of Finance will meet in-camera to look at this matter.”



Find the full letter below

4th September 2018

The Right Honourable Speaker

Parliament House

Accra

Dear Sir,

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 loop holes 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