Corruption Watch: Ecobank, Republic Bank and SG dispute GSE non-compliance claims
At least, three banks are disputing an independent report accusing them of failing to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as required by law.
The study which cited these banks and other companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) found that the financial institutions provided inconclusive data or failed completely to provide their financial statements.
Out of the 34 companies investigated, only 14 of them, including two banks successfully provided their financial statements for the year 2017.
“The results indicate that only 15% of the 34 companies satisfactorily complied with the SEC Regulation by filing their annual reports by the deadline of 31 March 2018,” the study concluded after reviewing the listed companies’ 2017 annual report filings.
The purpose of the filing is to ensure openness, transparency and to improve upon the general corporate governance.
But some banks are unhappy with the report. In a correspondence with Fredrick Asiamah of Corruption Watch, three banks – Ecobank, Republic Bank and Societe Generale Ghana – say the report is inaccurate because they have filed their financial statements as required by law.
Ecobank in a strong-worded response said it is in full compliance of the law with respect to Section 54 of the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) regulations.
Ethel Adamah of the Marketing and Communications Department of the bank explained that “On March 2018, EGH furnished SEC with a copy of its full 2017 annual report, again in accordance with the communiqué issued by the GSE dated February 4, 2016 and section 335 (a) of the companies act 1963, as amended by the companies act 825.
“The full electronic version of the 2017 annual report and financial statement of EGH for the year ended December 31, 2017 was made accessible to all stakeholders on the investor relations page on the EGH website,” she added.
She went on to state that notice to that effect was published in the Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times newspapers on 17 and 19 April 2018 as well as May 2018.
The bank is therefore baffled that it has been cited for non-compliance.
Head of Communications at SG Ghana, Daniel Rex Danquah in his response said the bank has not violated any laws.
He said as a listed company, the bank files all their returns with the GSE, BoG and SEC.
“We also publish financial statements as required by the SCC and BoG in the newspapers for our shareholders and post same on our website,” he added.
The Republic bank said the only reason they did not file their returns on the GSE website because they were given options.
According to them, they “utilized many of the appropriate channels given by the GSE in the circular. That circular dated February 2016, the GSE notified the investing public of a new option/approach by which companies listed on the GSE could reach out to shareholders regarding the circulation of annual reports.
“The GSE said the new option/approach satisfies section 335 (a) of the companies code of 1963, Act 179 as per the companies amendment act of 2012 Act 835,” a reason they didn’t file their report on the GSE website.
GCB bank was also contacted but failed to provide a response to the issue.