– NPP Hypocrisy

…As the same Elephant Mafia Tried To Sell The State Bank In 2007, Claiming Non-Performance

Every single move by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), especially in the fiscal and monetary environment, leaves a stench of suspicion in the air that an Akyem hegemony that President Akufo-Addo is running is pursuing cliquish enrichment at the expense of the Ghanaian people.

The stench is up again in the wake of the Bank of Ghana’s handout of UT Bank and Capital Bank to the Ghana Commercial Bank.

The many question marks dangling over the whole Purchase and Assumption Transaction include the fact that a number of banks that the GCB supposedly competed against to get the opportunity to acquire the two banks are still unknown.

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, has also claimed that GCB stakeholders could not be consulted about the decision to acquire those two banks because of the constraints of time.

Again, nobody knows the liabilities that the GCB, which is partly owned by GoG, has inherited as a result of the takeovers and the endowments that have come to it as result of the takeovers.

As GCB is publicly traded, it is a well-known fact that any advantages that come with the new acquisitions will go to benefit other stakeholders, apart from government, as well.

This has left the question as to whether these acquisitions were not hostile takeovers that were carefully planned.

Interestingly, as all these questions hang, it is noteworthy that the same ruling NPP, which is today hoisting the GCB as a reliable bank that can be trusted to better manage other banks, nearly sold the GCB in 2007.

Former President Kufuor had, in that year, eventually turned round to sell the Ghana Telecom, plying MPs with bribes, after the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), a pressure group, had fiercely resisted the sale.

At that time, the decision to sell off GCB had been advocated by the Bank of Ghana, where Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, now Vice President, was Deputy Governor.

President Kufuor’s Cabinet had considered the decision irrevocable as the NPP government at the time crusaded for the sell-off of the national bank on the basis of claims that the bank was not performing well and was doomed to failure.

Vice President Bawumia, along with other members of the government, had strongly pushed for the sale of GCB, saying it was not making any profits.

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the then editor of the Akufo-Addo- owned ‘Statesman’ newspaper, had used the paper to loudly advocate the government’s position that GCB was a useless white elephant that was also a dead burden on Ghanaians.

In one of his numerous articles, entitled, “Don’t Bank on GCB,” sub-titled, “How Databank transformed Gambia’s GCB,”  Mr. Otchere-Darko had eloquently dismissed GCB as a bank that needed a Midas touch from private management, likening the would-be success, to his cousin, Ken Ofori-Atta’s Databank’s supposed success, due to private management.

However, the NDC and the CJA fought tooth and nail, undertaking many demonstrations to prevent the sale of the bank. The Kufuor regime then turned to GT, sweetening MPs with a bribe of $5,000 to have Parliament okay the sale.

Eventually, after the NPP government rather sold off the Ghana Telecom, it emerged that the reason the sale of GCB had been proposed was not because the bank was on a one-way street to doom, but that the NPP government needed to balance its books to impress the World Bank and IMF.

Two years after the NDC and CJA’s successful resistance against the sale, the NDC and President Mills were elected into office.

Two years into the Mills/NDC regime, GCB was restructured and soon it became the third most efficiently managed bank in Ghana.

It is a continuation on the culture of excellence, thenceforth, that has today made the GCB so efficient that the NPP government has asked it to takeover two private banks, even though the NPP’s flagship philosophy is that, “the Private Sector is the engine of growth” and “Government has no business doing business.”

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who used the ‘Statesman’ to crusade for the sale of the GCB in 2007, is today at the Flagstaff House as the de-facto Chief of Staff, as his cousin, Nana Akufo-Addo, is the President.

In that same Flagstaff House, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who, in 2007, was the Deputy Governor of the BoG, is the Vice President, while the decision to make GCB takeover UT Bank and Capital Bank was taken by a BoG, which is under a Finance Ministry headed by Ken Ofori-Atta.

Mr. Ofori-Atrta is a cousin of Gabby’s, who is also the owner of Databank, which Gabby had cited as shining example to buttress the crusade for the sale of the GCB in 2007.

But beyond the hypocrisy that is reaching the NPP government from the past are the questions that hang around the takeovers of UT and Capital by the GCB.

Questions on issues such as stakeholder consent, liability inheritance, asset inheritance and possible payouts to former executives are hanging out like sore thumb. Nobody knows a supposed number of other banks which had competed with the GCB for the right to take over UT and Capital.

The BoG has promised to investigate the incompetence that led to the collapse of the two private banks, which had flourished under the Centre-left NDC, but have collapsed under the Capitalist NPP.




Source: Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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