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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Columnist: Prince Moses

Looking for those bank failure experts in Ghana

The likes of Adongo have spoken and are still speaking. What they do not express is why Ghana is in this banking sector mess; a horrendous mess that bears the name of those they are protecting.

Government is spending millions in cleaning this ‘filth’ at the expense of building essential infrastructure had stakeholders of these failed banks thought about the welfare of poor families whose hard-earned funds they held in trust.

It beats the minds of Ghanaians when self-proclaimed banking failure experts like Adongo keep defending failed banks and their now wealthy owners when they should rather be fighting for the hardworking Ghanaian whose future hangs in the balance. That is the reality, not guesswork from now acclaimed bank failure experts in Ghana.

Instead of probing the corporate governance structures of Databank, attention has been deceitfully shifted to false assumptions about how people are scheming to make Databank the only bank in Ghana.

A proven track record

As an investment bank, Databank has a proven track record as a non-commercial bank whose performance is founded on high standards. Databank’s recognised standards saw its former leader, Ofori-Atta, represent the interest of Africa in front of U.S. lawmakers in an effort that led the world’s biggest economy to endorse the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). AGOA helped increased Africa’s trade ties with the U.S. and led to growth in several economies across Africa.

Even after his resignation from Databank, ideals that Ken Ofori-Atta co-founded Databank on still exist. Interestingly, Ken’s hard-earned reputation has been recognised by the international community as one of the world’s best Finance Ministers.

So, how can judgments of persons bent on dragging both Ken and Databank’s hard earned reputations into the mud — as oppose to addressing how failed banks managed to fraudulently acquire their licenses — be better than the judgment of top international institutions that have applauded Ken Ofori-Atta’s hard work?

The reality is some have intentionally turned a blind eye to the real situation at hand, which is how several fraudulent banking licenses were obtained under the past government with the help of government and banking officials.

It is a FACT that the issuance of those licenses clearly violates banking governance rules. And from what we have seen through the underwhelming performance of those banks, it is clear that the intention was to allow failed banks and their clones to syphon money — whether from government or from poor Ghanaians.

Whichever way we look at this banking mess, it is both morally and professionally wrong and must be condemned as such.

Choosing between dumsor & ¢5.3billion

Wait a minute, how true was it that at the height of ‘Dumsor’, GH¢5.3billion secretly left Bank of Ghana (BOG) into a private bank that was under the control of a former Bank of Ghana Governor and Finance Minister? The banking mess in plain language was caused by lawlessness on the part of strong people in society who cared very little about how their behaviours affect the ordinary Ghanaian.

Banks need start-up capital as a cardinal rule. But some failed banks in Ghana successfully began operations without a start-up capital. Many questions need answers following this simple act, and your guess is good as mine as the likes of Adongo readily have such answers for Ghanaians.

Why were the banks allowed to operate without start-up capital? Who was behind the issuance of their licenses? How come some of the failed banks were actually allowed access to funds from the Central Bank? Who allowed that to happen?

Certainly, answers to these questions show that these failed banks were not caused by the scheming of Ken or Databank! Again, can the likes of Adongo be kind enough to keep quiet to allow Ghanaians understand why government needs to spend millions of taxpayers’ money to keep the banking sector in good shape to support economic growth that will help put food on the tables of Ghanaians?

Finally, is government justified by holding bank officials accountable for mismanaging the savings and investments of hardworking Ghanaians?