Banking crisis: Chamber of Commerce wants culpable officials prosecuted

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The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry has backed calls for prosecution of officials whose actions led to the collapse of some seven banks in the country.

“No one is above the law. If any of them is found culpable to have done something untoward, then we should allow the law to take its course. In other jurisdictions, even presidents have been imprisoned for corruption. So we should give it to the law enforcement agencies. We will give the agency the needed support they need,” CEO of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Badu-Aboagye said in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday.

He explained that because most small and medium scale enterprises depend on banks for funding any trouble within the banking sector adversely affect the SMEs.

“If you look at our economy a chunk of the businesses are SMEs and most of these SMEs get their credit or funding form these banks. So any disruption in the banking sector duly affects businesses,” he added.

Seven local banks have collapsed in the past year, with several others expected to crumble soon following their inability to meet a new recapitalization requirement of Ghc400 million.

Two defunct banks – UT and Capital banks – had been acquired by GCB bank, while five others have been merged into Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.

The central bank claimed that some of the defunct banks were “deeply insolvent” hence the decision.

It also explained that some of them obtained their licenses through dubious means while others breached cash reserve requirement, and some of the shareholders also were engaging in supposed suspicious transactions.

CEO of the Chamber of Commerce on the Citi Breakfast Show commended the central bank for its handling of the matter describing it as timely.

“Even though the Bank of Ghana cannot totally absorb themselves from all the blame, the decision the Bank of Ghana took was timely in order not to erode the confidence we have in businesses,” Mr. Aboagye added.

“The banks that collapsed are local banks and for us, it is a very sad and unfortunate situation. But the right things must be done. The foreign banks, what are they doing right that the local banks are not doing?”

“So for a chamber, the whole year we organized a programme on corporate governance for local business, unfortunately, we didn’t see any bank participating in that. Probably they thought they were too big for the forum.”

 

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