The assets of the now-defunct Heritage Bank will be auctioned to the public from Monday, 9 September 2019 till stocks run out at Dzorwulu, Accra, where it had one of its branches.The assets include “slightly used furniture and fittings; office equipment, slightly used power plants (generators, AVRs, UPS), fairly new Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (automatic) – 2, fairly new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (automatic) – 7, fairly new Toyota Fortuna (automatic) – 1”.
The locations for the public auction are “No. C210-14, Blohum Street, Dzorwulu, Accra. Dzorwulu (for vehicles) and Plot LI 23A, Tema Motorway Industrial Area, Cylinder Junction, behind Sintex Polytank Industry, Spintex Road, for all others”.
The notice names the auctioneer as Jonas Acquah of Jonac Mart.
The Bank of Ghana revoked Heritage Bank’s licence on Friday, 4 January 2019 on the basis that the majority shareholder, Mr Seidu Agongo, among other things, used proceeds realised from alleged fraudulent contracts he executed for the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), for which he and former COCOBOD CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni are being tried, to set up the bank.
Announcing the withdrawal of the licence, the Governor of the central bank, Dr Ernest Addison told journalists – when asked if he did not deem the action as premature, since the COCOBOD case was still in court – that: “The issue of Heritage Bank, I wanted to get into the law with you, I don’t know if I should, but we don’t need the court’s decision to take the decisions that we have taken. We have to be sure of the sources of capital to license a bank; if we have any doubt, if we feel that it’s suspicious, just on the basis of that, we find that that is not acceptable as capital. We don’t need the court to decide for us whether anybody is ‘fit and proper’, just being involved in a case that involves a criminal procedure makes you not fit and proper”.
However, Mr Agongo responded with a press statement in which he said that the “not fit and proper” tag stamped on him by the central bank was “capricious, arrogant, malicious and in bad faith”.
According to Mr Agongo, “In purportedly making the determination, the central bank obviously had little regard for the time-honoured principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction”, adding that: “The fact that I have a case pending before the High Court is a matter of public knowledge but my guilt or innocence is yet to be determined by the Honourable Court”.
“The determination that I am not a fit and proper person to be a significant shareholder of HBL because the central bank suspects the funds are derived from illicit or suspicious contracts with Cocobod is not only calculated to pre-judge the outcome of the criminal proceedings but also violative of the principle of presumption of innocence to which every individual is entitled. Since when has suspicion become a substitute for credible evidence?” Mr Agongo asked.