Dr Ernest Addison
The Finance Committee of Parliament yesterday grilled officials of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), led by the Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, over the recent collapse of five indigenous banks, which have now been amalgamated into an entity known as Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.
The collapse of the banks – Unibank, Biege Bank, Royal Bank, Construction Bank and Sovereign Bank – has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs in the banking sector.
The committee, chaired by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, expressed concern about the development and sanctioned a parliamentary probe into what went wrong after similar fate had befallen two other banks, UT Bank and First Capital Bank, within a year in order to help prevent future occurrences.
At the meeting yesterday, an outspoken member of the committee and National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, suddenly stormed out of the meeting, protesting angrily that the information provided by officials of the Bank of Ghana would not help members of the committee to ask probing questions.
According to him, the information provided was an executive summary, which did not include asset quality review on Unibank, contract document by KPMG and Boulders Report.
He, therefore, told journalists that he would not be part of such ‘rubber stamp’ parliamentary probe.
Interestingly, the NDC MP for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, said all the necessary documents had been provided to members by the chairman of the committee.
He revealed that the MP for Bolgatanga Central has the right to recuse himself from the meeting based on his personal beliefs but the committee members had been provided with necessary documents to carry out the probe.
He intimated that apart from all the hard copy information on the executive summary, a 300-paged soft copy document on the subject matter had also been sent to members of the committee through its Whatsapp platform.
The MP for Ketu South, Fifi Kwetey, mentioned that the Bolgatanga Central recused himself on his own accord without the backing of the Minority on the committee.
The first deputy majority chief whip and NPP MP for Kpandai, Matthew Nyindam, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, added that he was not surprised about the premeditated action of the Bolgatanga Central MP because he (Adongo) knew that he was going to be humiliated if he sat through the meeting since he had already taken a stance against the BoG on the matter.
According to the first deputy majority chief whip, Adongo unjustifiably criticized the Bank of Ghana over the collapse of the five banks and that recusing himself due to inadequacy of information provided by the BoG is not only disingenuous but dishonourable on the part of the MP.
Mr. Nyindam disclosed that all the necessary documents had been provided to committee members as attested to by his own Minority colleague Hon Kpodo both in hard and soft copies on the committee’s platform long ago.
He said he (Adongo) decided to storm out of the meeting with that flimsy excuse after realizing that all the information would expose him.
The legislator explained that the MP for Bolgatanga Central has the right as a member of the committee to ask for any information if he is not satisfied with those provided.
“Adongo decided to run away because he knew he was going to be exposed badly as a result of his partisan stance against the Bank of Ghana,” Mr Nyindam added.
The chairman of the committee, Dr Assibey-Yeboah, disclosed that for now the committee would sit in camera for three days which would end tomorrow, stressing that after all the facts have been put together, the committee would make a decision as to whether there should be full public inquiry into the case or not.
He revealed that the committee, after the three-day probe, would present its report and recommendation to the Speaker of Parliament for further advice and action to be taken.
The committee yesterday met officials of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.
It would meet officials of KPMG today, as well as officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Insurance Commission (NIC) tomorrow before it would prepare its report for the Speaker.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr