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General News of Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Parliamentary probe on banking crisis to begin today

Parliament’s in-camera hearing on the banking crisis is expected to commence today [Wednesday].

The 25-member Finance Committee is expected to focus on the role the Bank of Ghana played in the collapse of the banks, and determine the extent of culpability of central bank officials.

It is also expected to invite the officials of the Finance Ministry, managers of the banks, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boulders among others for questioning.

‘Secret hearings’

A Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, in a Citi News interview last week said the committee’s hearing on the matter would be private.

He explained that this was due to 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.”

Some critics have however questioned the rationale behind holding these sittings secretly, as most of the information to be disclosed during the sitting may already be in the public domain through various leaked reports commissioned by the Bank of Ghana on the situation.



Speaker petitioned

Ahead of the sitting, some two Ghanaians petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, to allow for a public hearing of the legislature’s probe into the crisis.

The two, Nana Adofo Ofori and Anthony Mifetoo, argued that the decision by the finance committee to hold the hearings in-camera is counterproductive.

Seven banks have collapsed in Ghana within the last year.

According to the Bank of Ghana, whereas some of the banks had liquidity challenges, others obtained their banking licenses through dubious means.

Some of the collapsed banks allegedly squandered millions of cedis given them by the BoG as liquidity support.

Some Ghanaians have however called sanctions for persons whose actions caused the collapse of the banks.

The government has issued about GHc8 billion in bonds to defray the debt left behind at the expense of Ghanaians.

Parliament subsequently served notice of holding a three-day closed-door session to quiz officials on the crisis.

“We’ve concluded that considering what we call the sensitivity of the matter, Parliament’s Committee of Finance will meet in-camera to look at this matter. It is important for the people appearing before the committee to be at ease and to give us the needed answers,” Mr. Ato Forson said.