..Over His Brother’s Company
Joy FM, has apologised to President John Dramani Mahama, over its claim that he stopped the state-owned bank, Merchant Bank from recovering a US$38 million owed by his junior brother, Ibrahim Mahama, owner of Engineers and Planners (E&P).
In a statement published on its website yesterday, the radio station said, “It has come to our notice that the headline on our story of December 2, 2013, “Presidency stopped Merchant Bank from recovering debts from company owned by president’s brother” was not exactly accurate”.
“To the extent that the headline did not reflect the contents and import of our story, we deeply regret any inconvenience the headline might have caused to the President and false imputations it may have conveyed”.
In this regard the station said, “We have taken steps to amend the headline to align perfectly with the body of the story”.
Meanwhile, Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, yesterday accused Andrew Awuni, head of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) and former
presidential spokesperson to President John Agyekum Kufuor of double standards.
He does not understand why Awuni, would wage a crusade against the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, when he staunchly supported the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone under the Kufuor regime.
Andrew Awuni, is in court challenging the sale of Merchant to Fortiz. He said the transaction is nothing but a rip-off of the Ghanaian tax payer.
In a new suit filed at the Commercial Court, Awuni’s group, CFA is asking 13 defendants to explain their respective roles in the impending sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity Fund.
But Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, expressed surprise at the crusading role being played by Awuni.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii-sen programme, yesterday, Kwakye-Ofosu threw a challenge at people to search the internet comments made by Andrew Awuni in support of the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone.
He said, Awuni who was then spokesperson to President John Kufuor, vehemently supported the sale in 2008, only to turn around and go to court in 2013 to challenge the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz.
He said the action by Awuni only seemed to suggest that it is only the New Patriotic Party that had the right to sell state-owned companies and that any attempt by another government to sell a state property is illegal.
That “inconsistency,” Kwakye Ofosu maintained is “surprising.”
The Deputy Information Minister, later turned his criticism on Joy FM and Myjoyonline.com, accusing the two Multimedia Group business units of false reportage.
The two published a story in which President, John Mahama was said to have questioned Merchant Bank for going after E & P, a company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother to the president when the bank attempted to retrieve debts owed it by the company.
Felix Kwakye-Ofosu insisted the publication, especially, the headline was without basis.
He accused the units of violating basic journalistic tenets and demanded an apology.
Senior partner at KPMG, Joe Winful, has also defended their role as transaction advisors in what has become the controversial sale of Merchant Bank to equity fund, Fortiz.
He explained that the sale of a bank is not as simple as selling a ball of kenkey or banku.
“Maybe, initially Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), might have wanted to employ transaction advisors. Mind you this is not the sale of kenkey or banku which is easily done over the counter.
“…There are a lot of areas you have to look at before you go into it,” Mr. Winful told Citi News.
KPMG has been added to a long list of respondents to answer questions on how Merchant Bank was valued and about to be sold to Fortiz Equity Fund.
CFA which is at the fore front of challenging in court, the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, on Monday closed its original case and filed a new case at the Commercial Court.
The group roped into the suit 13 Respondents, including, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Merchant Bank, Bank of Ghana, Fortiz, and KPMG.
Egbert Faibille, lawyer for the CFA told Joy News that KPMG has a responsibility to explain to the court, how it valued Merchant Bank and also how it okayed Fortiz bid of 90 million cedis for 90 per cent shares belonging to Merchant Bank.
But Joe Winful insisted KPMG offered a professional advice to majority shareholders of Merchant Bank, SSNIT.
He explained SSNIT as a majority shareholder had their own requirement, but they needed a professional advice or analysis which KPMG willingly offered.