MPs criticise parliament’s in-camera probe for directors of failed banks

By Lorlornyofm August 17, 2018 06:49

MPs criticise parliament’s in-camera probe for directors of failed banks

Some members of parliament (MPs) have criticised the decision by the Finance Committee to query directors of the collapsed indigenous banks in-camera.

The Committee has said it will spend three days – from September 6-7 – to probe the issue.

Even before it starts, there are fears a public probe could further dampen public confidence in the banking sector, because there could be more damning revelations of wrongdoing.

But some parliamentarians say an open probe is the way to go.

The legislator for Keta Richard Quarshigah argued that since the issue concerns the general public, there is no point in holding an in-camera probe.

“We are talking about the monies of the ordinary Ghanaians that were lodged with financial institutions and they were not handled properly…I don’t subscribe to that idea at all because I am also a victim.

Related: Parliament to investigate collapse of 7 banks

“I don’t think it has anything to do with National Security so it should be dealt with in public for everyone to listen to them just like the National Reconciliation Commission sitting during president Kufuor’s era. Ghanaians need to know everything,” he said.

Mr Quarshigah said he does not buy the idea that an open probe could affect public confidence in the sector.

He argued that recent happenings following the banking sector mess have been only “a house cleaning exercises to cleanse the soul of the banking system in Ghana”.

He believes the process will repose confidence in the general public after the mess has been cleaned “unless there are issues they want to cover up.”

Adding his voice to calls to have a public hearing, MP for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, said since the taxpayers are going to pay  ¢7 billion to clean the mess of the banks there is no point in hiding anything from them.

“That clearly makes it a public issue because the resources the ministry is going to mobilise to fill the void created by the lack of professionalism, recklessness and open fraudulent activities and the likes will be borne by Ghanaians.

Related: Failed banks: Parliament in-camera hearing ‘needless waste of time’ – CDD

“So in doing that and allowing the public to witness the processes and procedure, as well as hear those that are responsible firsthand in itself reinforces their confidence in the functionality of the public institutions and systems,” he said.

According to him, that is the justification of the hearing where all the issues will be laid to bare.

He said if the 2012 Election Petition was telecast live for all to have the benefit of what the people had to say, there is no excuse not to have a public probe.

Clement Apaak

Scores of Ghanaians have mounted pressure on Parliament’s Finance Committee to make its scheduled probe into the collapse of seven indigenous banks public.

Many callers into Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday argued that an in-camera probe would be inimical to the interest of the public.

“The officials being investigated could come out to deny having made comments the committee attributes to them and it will be one word against the other. If it’s public we are all watching live,” one caller noted.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Africa Center for Parliamentary Affairs is urging parliament to spend adequate time in probing the issue.  Dr Rasheed Draman insists three days will not be enough, considering the volume of issues raised by the Bank of Ghana report on circumstances leading to the collapse.

The Finance Committee of Parliament met on Wednesday to decide on modalities to go about a probe into the circumstances leading to the recent closure of five banks.

In August 2017, UT Bank and Capital Bank went down and all their assets and liabilities were taken over by state-owned GCB Bank.

A year later, the Central Bank has created The Consolidated Bank of Ghana to take over the assets of Sovereign Bank, Construction Bank, BEIGE Bank, The Royal Bank and uniBank after they all ran into liquidity problems.


Source: Ghana| |Abubakar Ibrahim |

By Lorlornyofm August 17, 2018 06:49
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