– Group Charges
By Alfred K. Dogbey
A pressure group, Inside Ghana is demanding an immediate investigation into what it described as bankrupt leadership and mismanagement by the former Merchant Bank Board Chairperson, Marian Banor, which resulted into financial loss to the state and the sale of the bank.
The group is also requesting for probe into the circumstances that led to the appointment of Transaction advisor, Toad Capital by the Marian Banor’s board and management, knowing very well that the company’s Managing Director is the Board Chairperson’s own son, raising the issue of conflict of interest.
They said such appointment was “an affront to corporate governance” because the board and management have no locus to appoint a transaction advisor without recourse to Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT) and State Insurance Company (SIC).
The group at a press conference addressed on Monday, December 9, by its convener, George Spencer Quaye also accused the leadership of the Bank for bringing the bank to its perilous state, because of certain “decrepit and deficient” decisions taken by the management.
Among the incompetent decisions taken by the Mrs. Banor-led administration, the group revealed that, her leadership has been dolling out millions of dollars to Toad Capital, without recourse to SSNIT.
According to them, Merchant Bank has been “paying an average of 5years rent for branches in Bolgatanga, Spintex Road, Tema, Sunyani and Tamale that were never opened, investing GHS1million in refurbishing the Adabraka brank to specialize in its core business of trade finance and which again were never opened”.
Mr. Spencer Quaye again averred that the bank “stopped over US$300M line of credit arranged for the bank by the then management”.
These and several other gross mismanagement factors according to the group informed the decision to sell off the State’s asset, demanding that “this ineffectual and anemic leadership must not go unpunished”.
The group said from every indication, Mrs. Banor’s leadership has willfully caused huge financial loss to the State. That aside, the “Chairpersons and directors act in fiduciary roles and can therefore be sued for allegations of wrongful acts, financial mismanagement and errors in judgment and negligence”, the group added.
On the sale of the bank, the group said “we urge all those blowing hot air over the failed First Rand acquisition to commend the board and management of SSNIT for pulling the plugs on the deal which would have seen pensioners’ money being doled to South Africans”.
The group’s convener said while the opposition and its surrogates mischievously making noise about the Sales and Purchase Agreement, “the First Rand deal, SSNIT and SIC were expected to inject GHȻ100.70M back into the bank.”
They said, “the total sum of the sale to save, recapitalize and repositioning Merchant Bank as GHs274M. This simply means Rand Bank was paying about GHs173M which again was not coming to SSNIT and SIC but had to be invested into the bank and in addition SSNIT and SIC Life were expected to also
inject GHs100.7M for a 30 per cent share.”
“How then can one say such a deal which would have left SSNIT and SIC with a deficit be better than the Fortiz PE deal which sees the State enterprise pocketing a colossal sum of GHȻ90M without having to invest a penny in an insolvent asset?” the group wondered.
However, the group explained that “such conclusion could best be described as deliberate irresponsibility on the part of opposition or a thoughtless effort without recourse to facts”.
The group justified that the sale of the State’s asset, the Merchant Bank is good since the Bank has been running at a loss from the year 2012 adding that, “the longer the sale is delayed, the bigger the losses being funded with the tax payers’ money”.