Banking Sector Rot: OccupyGhana demands firm action
Pressure group, Occupy Ghana, has asked government to investigate and prosecute all persons found to have breached banking rules in the ‘collapse’ of seven local banks.
Several local banks are facing challenges in their quest to meet the Bank of Ghana’s Ghc400 million minimum capital requirement.
Reports have also emerged detailing the role the management of some banks played in the current crisis in the banking sector, after they misused funds given them by the Bank of Ghana as liquidity support.
But in a statement, OccupyGhana wants government to ensure no one is shielded and also allow the law to take its course in dealing with all those whose actions led to the collapse.
“Those in management or other positions of trust who have been implicated and who have to lose their jobs, should lose their jobs. Those whose personal properties have to be seized and sold to pay back the public debt should be taken through the due process. And those who have committed crimes against the Republic should be ruthlessly and mercilessly prosecuted.”
The pressure group urged the government to urgently and thoroughly clean the banking sector.
“We trust that the government will act urgently and thoroughly to clean the sector of all criminal elements who have caused much damage to our wealth and future recovery”, the statement added.
Here is the full statement by OccupyGhana.
“OccupyGhana has followed closely, reports on the state of our financial sector, particularly with respect to some private, indigenous banks.
We are horrified at the several, repeated and blatant breaches of the law and rules of banking and corporate governance, plain theft, obvious fraud, naked bribery, undisguised money laundering and criminal causing of financial loss engaged in by regulators, industry players and practitioners, and possibly even auditors.
We are amazed that banks could be established in this country with next to no funds and sometimes with funds stolen from government bailout cash extended to other banks. Shareholders appeared to help themselves to depositors’s funds as if it was their personal “piggy banks.” Directors and auditors apparently breached their fiduciary duties with reckless abandon.
Directors also failed to exercise utmost good faith, shamelessly engaged in ultra vires transactions and other deals with conflict of interest and conflict of duty implications.
We are shocked at the failure, refusal or neglect of regulators, in the face of several reports evidencing the obvious wrongs and impending collapse, to do anything to stem the tide or stop the flow, save pouring more bailout money into the banks without asking for collateral or even appointing advisers to control the use of the taxpayer’s monies.
We see near-fatal collapse of the hub of national development caused by the failure of regulatory authority and what is appearing to be major corruption linked to, especially the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana.
We can only wait with trepidation what we believe will be the exposure of further and deeper rot when the Central Bank sets to deal with other deposit-taking institutions such as the Microfinance and Savings & Loans companies.
This failure of regulation in one of, if not the most critical sector of our economy, calls for the firmest, most strident, ruthless and decisive action from the Central Bank and the Government. We urge the Government to act immediately to investigate, arrest and prosecute all culprits involved in all instances of fraud perpetrated against the state and theft of depositors’ and taxpayers’ monies.
Citizens have had to rescue the financial sector at least once before, in a major recovery of assets via the Non Performing Asset Recovery Trust (NPART) in the 1990s and we do not expect that we should have to relive that painful experience.
We call on the Government not only to make public the results of all investigations conducted, but to ensure that the law (both civil and criminal) is made and allowed to take its course without fear or favour.
Those in management or other positions of trust who have been implicated and who have to lose their jobs, should lose their jobs. Those whose personal properties have to be seized and sold to pay back the public debt should be taken through the due process. And those who have committed crimes against the Republic should be ruthlessly and mercilessly prosecuted.
We trust that the Government will act urgently and thoroughly to clean the sector of all criminal elements who have caused much damage to our wealth and future recovery.
Yours in the service of God and Country