But Embarrassingly Puts Duffuor Properties On Sale
The Central Bank, has embarrassingly put on sale landed properties of former Governor, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, ironically the same bank, has been tightlipped on the properties of the owners of two other banks; Capital Bank and UT Bank, both of which also collapsed, last year.
While, Dr. Duffuor, owns Unibank, the two others; Capital Bank and UT Bank, are owned by the Founder of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Pastor Mensa Otabil and Capt. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, respectively.
Indeed, there are reports that, government had gone into the financial market to raise some billions of Ghana Cedis, to clear debts owed by collapsed UT and Capital banks.
The announcement that, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was selling Dr. Duffuor’s properties valued at a whopping US$82 million and located in prime areas of Accra, has raised eyebrows with many suggesting that, the Central Bank was shielding Pastor Mensa Otabil, who is a spiritual father of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and his wife, Angela Ofori-Atta.
Kofi Amoabeng, is reportedly being shielded, because he is also seen as one of the many cousins of President Nana Akufo-Addo from Akyem Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region.
Dr. Duffuor’s properties, according to media reports are being sold to defray loans and other financial obligations entered into by Unibank. The ten properties are located primarily at Ridge, Adabraka, Airport, and Asylum Down and are valued at between US$1 million and US$25 million.
Details of the sale according to Joy FM, are sketchy, but a property schedule details all the properties and their values as well as locations are ready. Internationally recognised auditing firm, KPMG, was early this year appointed by the Bank of Ghana in what the regulator said was part of moves to save Unibank.
A Deputy Governor of the Central Bank told Joy FM that, Unibank had been on life support for many years.
According to Mrs. Elsie Awadzi, the managers of the local bank had been defaulting in supplying requested information relating to the performance of the bank. She insisted the Central Bank’s decision was in the interest of owners of the bank and depositors as well.
The Administrators, according to the BoG, were expected to assess the full extent of the struggling bank.It would seem, that some troubling findings have been made, prompting the sale of landed properties of the owner of the bank.
Dr. Duffuor was onetime Finance Minister in the John Evans Atta-Mills government.
The Central Bank, in August Last year, authorized GCB to take over Capital and UT Banks but was to appoint KPMG to manage Unibank months later.
The collapsed banks were “unable to develop an acceptable plan”, according to the BoG, which indicated in a statement that it made efforts to help UT Bank and Capital Bank recover via private alternatives.
The Central Bank said there were “repeated agreements between the Bank of Ghana and UT Bank and Capital Bank to implement an action plan to address these significant shortfalls.” However, the owners and managers of UT Bank and Capital Bank were unable to increase the capital of the banks to address the insolvency.
Purchase and Assumption agreement allows GCB Bank to take over all deposit liabilities and selected assets of both UT Bank and Capital Bank, per section 123 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) Act, 2016 (Act 930).
The BoG in its statement said the GCB Bank took over UT Bank and Capital Bank “as part of efforts to extend their reach and grow their balance sheet to position them to support large transactions in a fast growing economy.”
GCB was asked to over all the depositors’ funds and will continue to provide normal banking services to customers and depositors of the two collapsed banks will now become customers of GCB Bank.
The Bank of Ghana later revealed that it had ‘revoked the Licences of UT Bank Ltd and Capital Bank Ltd.” explaining that “this action has become necessary due to severe impairment of their capital.”
The remaining assets and liabilities of the two banks will be realized and settled respectively through a receivership process to be undertaken by Messers Vish Ashiagbor and Eric Nana Nipah of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
According to the central bank the main offices and branches of UT Bank and Capital Bank will be under the control of GCB bank and will be opened at 1pm today for normal business transactions.
The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) also suspended the listing status of UT Bank following its collapse and subsequent takeover by GCB.
The GSE noted that the suspension had become necessary due to the revocation of UT Bank’s licence by the BoG. The GSE also indicated that UT Bank has failed to publish its financial results since the end of its financial year December 31, 2015.
Early this year, the Minority in Parliament said that the Akufo-Addo Government is returning to the financial market to raise GH¢2billion to clear debts owed by collapsed UT and Capital banks,.
The opposition lawmakers have served notice they will resist that decision unless the reasons behind the collapse of the two indigenous banks are made public.
The collapse of UT and Capital banks in August last year shook the financial market and triggered calls for the Central Bank to take its regulatory role seriously.
The two banks were acquired by another indigenous bank, GCB after they were declared financially distressed to exist as autonomous institutions.
Nearly a year on, the reasons for their collapse have not been made public, a development the Minority has described as worrying.
Former Deputy Finance Minister, Casiel Ato Forson asked the Akufo-Addo government to open up to the taxpayer regarding its decision to take over the liabilities of Capital Bank and UT Bank.
“If a bank collapses, should the taxpayer pay [for it]?” the Minority Spokesperson on Finance said on Joy FM’s Top Story on Thursday, March 8 , 2018.
Casiel Ato Forson, warned that the Minority would be pursuing the matter to ensure that any decision to clear the debts of UT and Capital banks is duly sanctioned by Parliament.
“What is happening to their assets?” Mr. Forson asked of the two collapsed banks, charging the government to take steps to address the Minority’s concerns.
But the Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, said he was unaware of any decision by the government to use taxpayers’ money to pay the debts. Although Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah acknowledged the two banks left huge debts, he ruled out plans to issue a bond to clear that.