Fortiz-Merchant Deal Needs Further Explantion

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The controversy surrounding the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity Fund Ltd, is refusing to die, because of the perceived underhand dealing behind the whole transaction.

Fortiz have issued a statement to clarify the takeover, the Governor Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Henry Wampah, also held a press conference to explain the role BoG played and gave reasons why the regulator approved the deal.

It is a fact that Merchant Bank, was on the verge of collapse that was why it owners, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and State Insurance Company (SIC), put it up for sale.

Arguments have been made by the promoters of Fortiz, SSNIT and BoG about the fact that the promoters behind Fortiz are Ghanaians and they were convinced that the offer was the best.

We at The Herald think, it is a good thing, if we start recognizing the capacity and capabilities of our own, instead of always looking outside, anytime we want to sell a State asset or in search for strategic partners.

Despite all the explanations and reasons given by both the owners of Merchant Bank and the buyer, a lot of people are still not convinced about the whole transaction. They are questioning why Fortiz was chosen instead of the First Rand Bank of South Africa, which bid, was higher than Fortiz.

This reminds us of the reasons given by the administration of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, when Ghana Telecom was sold to Vodafone, instead of Telkom SA, which offered more than what Vodafone paid for the State Telecommunication Company, Vodafone was given the green light, despite Telkom SA’s superior offer.

Effective communication is needed to dispel whatever notion that people are beginning to form, about the deal, the current conversation around the sale is fragmentary, people are confused each passing day.

BoG, which is the regulator, must not be doing the job of the owners of Merchant Bank; SSNIT must rather be out there, explaining to its shareholders
and Ghanaians, why that decision was arrived at.

People cannot be paid and given positions of Authourity and responsibility and when they are needed to discharge these responsibilities, they are nowhere to be found.

The Government and President John Dramani Mahama, have been dragged into an otherwise private business transaction between Fortiz and SSNIT. Unfortunately, that is how politics is done in this country, so the earlier SNNIT wake up to their responsibilities the better.

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