Financial analyst Isaac Adongo has said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is the “biggest risk that ever happened to the financial sector” in Ghana.
Under Mr. Ofori-Atta’s tenure as Finance Minister, Mr. Adongo, who is also the MP for Bolgatanga Central, said several local banks have been targeted and run down.
“… I said that right from the day he [Mr. Ofori-Atta] started building the regulatory architecture…when I was seeing the fingerprints of Databank and Enterprise Group around the Bank of Ghana (BoG), around the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). I raised an alarm that we were in very very dangerous times because banking regulations were going to be influenced by how Databank would have fought the competition, how Enterprise Group would have fought the competition sitting at the places that they couldn’t; and now having the mandate, and it has happened”, Mr Adongo told Benjamin Akakpo on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday, 8 January 2018 in an interview following the Bank of Ghana’s revocation of the licence of Heritage Bank and Premium Bank.
Since August 2017, nine local banks have gone under.
Apart from Heritage and Premium, the others are former Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffour’s uniBank, The Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank, The Construction Bank, The Royal Bank, Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng’s UT Bank, and Capital Bank, which was chaired by Pastor Mensa Otabil.
While UT Bank and Capital Bank were swallowed by the state-owned GCB Bank with the blessing of the Dr. Ernest Addison-led central bank, the seven others were subsumed by an all-new state-owned bank, Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited (CBG), which was created by the Bank of Ghana during its “clean-up” exercise of the sector.
In Mr. Adongo’s view, all the affected banks were deliberately muscled out of the game to pave way for Databank and the Enterprise Group to flourish.
“Almost every strong player that was above Databank and Enterprise Group is now being demonized, is now losing its license.
“They started with Kofi Amoabeng, who had a unique bank; UT Bank was a unique bank, that brand has been completely destroyed. We know of the uniBank or the uni Group. That was a fantastic bank, it’s gone. We know of the GN Bank, that bank was a fantastic bank, it’s gone. Now Heritage Bank, an emerging brand.”
“In fact, the Bank of Ghana will tell you that [Heritage Bank] was the bank with the most enduring systems for managing risks, [and] ranked Heritage Bank as one of the highest there, and that tells you the diligence with which this young man [Seidu Agongo, the majority shareholder] wanted to build an enduring bank that would have taken over the financial system by storm.”
“Unfortunately, they have read into the future and felt he must be curtailed.”
“But most importantly, I feel sad that the Ghanaians’ pension funds are now being compromised and are being targeted for a transaction that the Bank of Ghana can, with a stroke of pen, raise on the Stock Exchange or at the Bank of Ghana without necessarily attacking our pension fund”, Mr Adongo noted.
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