Business News of 2013-12-12

Organised labour to meet officials of Fortiz

Organised labour has scheduled a meeting with officials of the Fortis Private Equity Fund next week to discuss matters relating to the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortis.

The intended meeting forms part of consultations being made by organised labour for it to take a position on the sale of bank.

Already, organised labour has held separate meetings with the staff of Merchant Bank to understand their concerns as well as officials of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to understand the position and role of SSNIT in the transaction.

Consultative meetings

According to the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kofi Asamoah, organised labour would engage other independent stakeholders and civil society groups which opposed the sale of the bank in order to get varied opinions on the transaction.

“The case is now in court and so we are being guided by our lawyers, as we don’t want to be in contempt of court,” he added.

He said the sale of the bank involved many technical details which needed much scrutiny and consultation.

Mr Asamoah debunked media reports that the TUC had representation on the Merchant Bank Board, explaining, “We rather have representation on the board of SSNIT.”

Some civil society groups have questioned the silence of organised labour on the sale of Merchant Bank.

Background

Merchant Bank, which was owned by SSNIT, was sold to Fortis in a deal approved by the Bank of Ghana, but the deal has generated some controversy.

The Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, headed by Mr Andrew Awuni, has filed a writ at the Commercial Division of the High Court challenging the sale of the bank.

Mr Awuni is further seeking an order of the court requesting Parliament to institute an inquiry into the sale of the bank to Fortis.

In his statement of claim, Mr Awuni said the deal purportedly entered into between Fortis and the government of Ghana, with the tacit approval of the Bank of Ghana, was not good enough and amounted to short-changing the taxpayer and contributors whose money SSNIT invested.