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General News Wed, 30 Apr 2014

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Minority to query Kufuor over presence at Merbank rebranding

The Minority in Parliament intends seeking an explanation from former President John Kufuor over his presence at a recent rebranding event of Merchant Bank.

Universal Merchant Bank, as the rebranded bank is now known, was acquired by private equity fund, Fortiz, amidst a wave of opposition and uproar from the main opposition New Patriotic Party and some civil society organisations.

The Minority petitioned Parliament to probe the sale. Civil Society group, Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, also resisted the transaction in court. Its executive director, Andrews Awuni, described it as a dash. The transaction went through nonetheless. Both Mr. Kufuor and his former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpianim were at the bank’s rebranding ceremony.

RadioXYZonline.com has learnt that some supporters of the NPP are not happy about Mr. Kufuor’s presence at the event.

However, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai in the Ashanti Region, Joe Osei Owusu, in a recent interview with Accra-based OK FM, defended both Mr. Kufuor and Mr. Mpianim for attending the event.

According to Osei Owusu, since the event was neither a political activity nor a programme of the governing party, it would have been imprudent for the former President to have dishonoured the invitation.

Fortiz acquired 90% of the state-owned Bank for Ghc90 million. Erstwhile majority shareholder of the bank, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) offloaded the shares to the private investor and now retains a minority share.

The Minority, at the time, wondered why the Government turned down ‘better’ deals in favour of Fortiz.

They suspected fraud in the whole transaction.

Source: radioxyzonline

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