Private legal practitioner, Ace Annan Ankomah, has called on Ghanaians to exercise restraint as the Bank of Ghana works to ensure that persons found to be responsible for the collapse of local banks are punished.
While admitting the complexity in the prosecution of persons alleged to be involved in white-collar crimes, he said that ample time must be given to investigators to enable them to build cases good enough to ensure that criminals are punished.
Speaking at a Danquah Institute Forum in collaboration with Citi FM on the theme, ‘The Banking Clean Up, Are Depositors Safe?’, the lawyer and member of anti-corruption group OccupyGhana, likened the situation to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, in the recent Russia probe, stressing that prosecution in the banking controversy cannot be rushed.
“Let’s not rush the Bank of Ghana. I know enough to know that white collar issues and white collar crimes are some of the most difficult to prosecute. If you make a mistake and lose one, you’ve lost your module. So what Robert Mueller is doing in the US is very slowly, but when he hits, he files 18 charges knowing that even 1 can take you to jail for 10 years and by the time the jury brings the verdict, at least 8… So let us allow Ghana’s Muellers a little bit of space and time,” he said.
Ghana’s banking sector is currently in crisis over the collapse of seven local banks within 12 months.
Two of the banks, UT and Capital Bank, have been taken over by the state’s GCB Bank.
The five others, Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank, Construction Bank, uniBank, and Royal Bank, have all been consolidated into the Consolidated Bank of Ghana.
The decision to collapse all the banks were primarily because they had all become highly insolvent as a result of various reasons including poor corporate governance.
While the Bank of Ghana has assured the public that depositors’ funds are safe, many have called for the prosecution of persons whose actions led to the collapse of the banks which is reported to have cost the country over more than GHC4 billion.