Former Minister of Finance and founder of the defunct uniBank, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, and his counterpart for the defunct UT Bank Limited, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, whose insolvent financial institutions were taken over by the state as part of the banking sector clean up exercise, are calling for probe into the actions of the regulators.
They have called for a major parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Ghana Stock Exchange for the revocation of their banking licences.
The two filed separate petitions calling on Parliament to investigate what they consider to be a disregard to the rules of administrative justice guaranteed under Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.
They are calling for the probe when at the time their respective cases are undergoing both civil and criminal trials in court.
The petitions, which have been set down for discussion by the House, were revealed by the Business Statement for the 10th week – ending Saturday, March 27, 2021 – as read by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
Dr. Duffuor wants Parliament, in particular, to investigate the conduct of the central bank in respect of the takeover and appointment of an Official Administrator for uniBank Ghana Limited as well as the circumstances surrounding the revocation of the banking licence of the bank.
Mr. Amoabeng, on the other hand, wants the legislative arm to investigate the conduct of the BoG and the Ghana Stock Exchange for the revocation of UT Bank’s licence and delisting the bank.
According to Mr. Amoabeng, the revocation of UT Bank’s licence and the delisting of the bank from the stock exchange amounted to a conduct “without due regard to the rules of administrative justice guaranteed under article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.”
Interestingly, Mr. Amoabeng is on record to have said that high level of non-performing loans and thievery by some staff collapsed his bank.
He and Dr. Duffour are therefore asking Parliament to direct the restoration of their banking licences and the remedy of the harms done to the shareholders’ property rights in the said banks as a result of the central bank’s action.
They have also sought for Parliament to give any other directives that it may deem appropriate to BoG for its action against them.
Banking licences of Duffuor’s uniBank and Amoabeng’s UT Bank were revoked by the central bank during the financial sector clean up, but unibank was put into administration by the BoG in 2018 before consolidating it with other defunct banks during the banking crisis.
The central cited weak supervisory standards, breaches, operational weakness and persistent liquidity challenges in its cash reserve requirements as some of the reasons for the takeover, while management of UT Bank was accused of mishandling depositors’ cash by engaging in fictitious and unlawful activities.
Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said he wished the petitions were not admitted by the Speaker since “the two matters are before the court and they (Dr. Duffuor and Mr. Amoabeng) have been directed to amicably resolve the matter with BoG.”
“I would have wished the Speaker waited for the court to handle the case. It is not as if it is now going to the court, and in any case if we come to such a determination how do we enforce it if the matter is in court,” he argued.