General News of 2014-01-30

Hundreds demonstrate in Kumasi over Merbank sale

Hundreds of demonstrators thronged the streets of the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, Thursday, in protest of the sale of Merchant Bank to Equity Fund, Fortiz.

The protest march, which saw demonstrators in red attires with red hand-bands, was organized by members of anti-corruption group, Public Action Against Corruption and Abuse (PAACA).

The group, which held a similar demonstration in Accra, intends to replicate their protest in all regional capitals across the country until their demand for the reversal of the sale is met.

The group says the sale will not benefit SSNIT contributors hence their demonstrations.

LUV FM’s James Herman reports that the demonstration that commenced in around 9 a.m., at Adum in Kumasi, continued through the entire business district with intermittent stops at some vintage points like the SSNIT and Merchant Bank offices in Kumasi. The demonstration, which initially started with just a handful of demonstrators, later garnered the support of other distressed residents in the business district, making the numbers to run into hundreds of demonstrators. On his part, the Convener for the anti-corruption group, PAACA, Atik Mohammed, noted that the protest against the sale of Merchant Bank to Equity Fund, Fortiz is an issue that the group is very passionate about.

According to him, the group will continue to ensure the termination of the agreement is pushed through and also press on the entity, which is responsible for the recovery of loans, to pursue all those who are indebted to Merchant Bank "so that the bank will be back on its feet again".

Atik Mohammed further indicated that the group's next destination will be in the Northern regional capital, Tamale, noting, "we will move to Cape Coast and end it at the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua".

Private equity firm, Fortiz bought SSNIT’s 90 per cent stake in Merchant Bank for GH¢90 million.

The sale raised concerns from other civil society organizations in the country with some opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs describing the sale as fraudulent and a fleece on SSNIT contributors

Source: myjoyonline.com
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