Business News of 2013-12-05

Fortiz statement on Merchant Bank takeover not authentic - Andrew Awuni

Former spokesperson to President John Kufuor and boss of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni doubts the genuineness of the statement released on Wednesday by Fortiz on its takeover of Merchant Bank.

“I have seen a statement on the website and what I saw on the website doesn’t look like an authenticated statement. With any proper press release after the statement, an identifiable officer of the institution will sign to make the thing official and also indicate the officer’s position in that particular institution.

“…It authenticates the statement. But for you to just release a statement and just say signed, Directors...the Directors have names for authentication purposes and for the press to even use that statement, they need to call to find out if it is an authenticated statement. I don’t know if it’s deliberate or oversight,” he said.

His comment came after Fortiz announced the final takeover of the controversial Merchant Bank acquisition.

According to a statement by “unknown Directors” of Fortiz, “Fortiz has met the requisite and immediate conditions set by the Bank of Ghana and wish to thank the hard working management and staff of Merchant Bank for their support through this process. We also wish to thank the loyal customers of the bank who have stayed the course through the acquisition.

“…We are currently in the process of forming a strong executive team to execute the vision of the shareholders. Our vision is to build a formidable indigenous bank within the next 3 years in order to become the most preferred bank in the country”.

Adding that; “…Fortiz wishes to assure all stakeholders of Merchant Bank that our immediate and future plans include re-launching Merchant Bank into a modern, world-class, indigenous banking institution. In addition to our injection of capital into the bank, we will aggressively pursue ALL DEFAULTERS and reinvest recovered bad loans into the bank to ensure we have a sizeable balance sheet to support the growth of the bank's business and to enable us make the required investments to meet our customers’ needs efficiently. Recognizing the importance of staff, we will also look to improving the working conditions of our team. Fortiz is determined to list Merchant Bank on the Stock Market within the foreseeable future".

But speaking to Asempa FM, the chief crusader against the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity, Andrew Awuni, cannot understand how “in the midst of the brouhaha”, Fortiz will put out a statement announcing its completion of the acquisition of Merchant Bank.

“I am taking this whole statement with a pinch of salt and that is what everybody should do because this statement cannot be quoted anywhere because the person will ask you who signed it (the statement). It’s like a blank cheque. No bank will give you money if you presented a cheque to the cashier without a signature".