General News of Wed, 5 Sep 20183

Bank Collapse: Occupy Ghana fights in-camera hearing

Pressure group OccupyGhana has objected to the in-camera hearing of the bank collapse saga by parliament’s Finance Committee, saying the people of Ghana want to know the truth and so a public hearing will do the whole country a lot of good.

Seven local banks have collapsed in the past one year.

They include UT Bank, Capital Bank, uniBank, Sovereign Bank, The Royal Bank, The Beige Bank and The Construction Bank.

The first two went under in August 2017.

The other five went bust two weeks shy of a year after the first two failed.

UT Bank and Capital Bank were taken over by GCB Bank while the last five were put together by the Bank of Ghana to form the all-new Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.

In total, the state is spending over GHS8 billion of taxpayers’ money in rescuing the banks.

Parliament's probe of the collapsed banks starts on Wednesday, 5 September 2018.

However, OccupyGhana believes hearing the matter secretly is not a good idea.

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“It is our considered view that holding such an important inquiry in camera will not assuage the public hunger for truth in respect of the matters raised in the reports of Messrs KPMG and Boulders which are now in the public domain.

“In the interest of transparency, we urge the committee to hold its hearings open to the public.

“We, as members of the public whose taxes funded the bailout monies, would want to be reassured that there has been no cover-up in the inquiry because of the personalities involved in the instances of malpractice identified in the reports. Any sitting in camera will breathe life into and give teeth to rumours that there are personalities behind huge kickback payments who are also cronies of politicians and who may be shielded by an in camera proceedings”, OccupyGhana said in a statement.



The group noted that: “The public would also want to ensure that depositors are protected and that any loop holes that enabled this conduct to go on unchallenged would be addressed by the committee with a view to legislating to ensure the circumstances enabling malpractice are curbed so there is no repeat in future.

“An open process will restore public confidence in the beleaguered banking sector and go some way towards repairing its tarnished image”, the statement added.

Read full statement below:

4th September 2018

The Right Honourable Speaker

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Parliament House

Accra

Dear Sir,

OBJECTION TO SECRET HEARINGS ON BANKING CRISES

It has come to our attention that the Finance Committee of Parliament is set to conduct a probe into the failure of the 7 banks whose licences were withdrawn by the banking regulator, Bank of Ghana.

It is our considered view that holding such an important inquiry in camera will not assuage the public hunger for truth in respect of the matters raised in the reports of Messrs KPMG and Boulders which are now in the public domain.

In the interest of transparency, we urge the committee to hold its hearings open to the public. We, as members of the public whose taxes funded the bailout monies, would want to be reassured that there has been no cover-up in the inquiry because of the personalities involved in the instances of malpractice identified in the reports. Any sitting in camera will breathe life into and give teeth to rumours that there are personalities behind huge kickback payments who are also cronies of politicians and who may be shielded by an in camera proceedings.



The public would also want to ensure that depositors are protected and that any loop holes that enabled this conduct to go on unchallenged would be addressed by the committee with a view to legislating to ensure the circumstances enabling malpractice are curbed so there is no repeat in future.

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An open process will restore public confidence in the beleaguered banking sector and go some way towards repairing its tarnished image.

We are firmly of the view that any inquiry should seek to address the following:

1. Regulatory failures that enabled the issuing of licences to banks when those organisations did not meet the financial criteria

2. Failure of compliance monitoring by the regulator post issuing of licences

3. Failure of oversight by the regulator after the banks had accessed bailout loans

4. A review of the conditions imposed on the banks for the bailout loans.

5. What measures are to be implemented to prevent recurrence?

6. Prescribed punishment to persons who have been engaged in criminality

7. Recommendations

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We trust that the Committee tasked to probe into these failures will consider what is best in the public interest and agree with us that an open hearing will ensure full transparency and is indeed what is best in the interest of the public.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana®

Cc.:

The Chairman

Finance Committee of Parliament

Parliament House

Accra

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