Adongo Snubs Par’l as it begins probe into banking crisis

Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, yesterday walked out of an in-camera probe into the banking crisis, accusing the committee of a cover-up.

“Why will I sit in that meeting? I will not sit in that meeting,” he said after rejecting documents he was given at the hearing.

According to him, the documents were insufficient in unravelling the circumstances leading to the collapse of the seven local banks in 12 months.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP was given Bank of Ghana press releases on the defunct banks, state of banking system report for March 2018, the central bank governor’s speech and the executive summary of a Boulder’s report into uniBank.

But, Mr Adongo, who looked disappointed, said the documents were a pale shadow of the information required to get a better understanding of the circumstances leading to the collapse of the seven banks.

He said auditing firm, KPMG, had done five asset quality reviews on uniBank alone, the reports of which had not been presented to the finance committee.

“While the Executive Summary is 86 pages, the entire report is over 250 pages,” he said.

 

“If I read the Boulder’s report, can’t I understand it? Why do you give me Executive Summary?” the NDC MP, who has been critical of government over the collapse of the mainly indigenous banks, said.

He wanted the committee to furnish members with the full Boulders report, the terms of reference given to KPMG and the central bank’s contract with Boulders Advisors.

“This is a rubber stamp process, it will deliver no value and I am not willing to be part of it,” he fumed.

He said,  “the committee needs to be more serious because government is sinking 8bn cedis to salvage the financial sector while some 6,000 jobs are expected to be lost.”

He noted that participating in the parliamentary probe will ‘give credence’ to the shoddy work that was underway.

“I don’t take part in rubber stamp meetings,” he averred.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says Parliament’s Finance Committee must rethink its decision to hold an in-camera probe into the collapse of the seven indigenous banks.

Joseph Akanjolenur Whittal advised the committee to “gauge the mood of the country very carefully” and not “draw itself into this imbroglio.”

“It appears the decision to hold an in-camera investigation into this banking saga, if they think carefully; they will rather go public because it is about transparency,” the head of the state investigative body cautioned on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Mr Whittal said it would be important for Parliament “to carry the people along and that is by holding an open [and] transparent hearing so that the people can judge for themselves.”

“After all, it is the taxpayers’ money that the government has committed to use to bail out the affected banks, “so they deserve to know…and participate actively,” he argued.

The CHRAJ boss also wanted the committee to tread cautiously with the decision to hold an in-camera investigation because, “the approach does not augur well in the current situation where people are losing confidence in the country’s banking sector both domestically and internationally.”

“For me it is not about the personalities who are involved, it is not about the institutions, it is about a call by the people for accountability…so don’t we as a people deserve to understand what went into this failure, how did it happen, what steps should we take to avert future occurrence of such nature and to breathe confidence back into the sector,” Mr Whittal averred.

The Bank of Ghana in August 2017 revoked the licenses of UT Bank and Capital Bank as a result of severe impairment of their capital.

The central bank in a similar move collapsed another set of five locally-owned banks to form the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited after the affected banks ran into liquidity challenges.

Parliament’s Finance Committee announced on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 that it would on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 begin probing the collapse of the seven indigenous banks in the country.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr Asibey Yeboah, said they had agreed not to invite the directors of the collapsed banks.

According to him, representatives from the central bank, the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the finance ministry are scheduled to appear before them and will answer questions on the issue.

“We have made it clear from the onset that we are inviting the institutions to have an in-camera hearing to garner first-hand information from them,” he said.

 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

 

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