‘Under Akufo-Addo, bankers have become kebab sellers’ – Akamba

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Some bankers in Ghana have been reduced to kebab sellers because the Akufo-Addo government has collapsed nine local banks in the country, National Organiser of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Joshua Akamba, has said.

Mr Akamba, who debated the Deputy Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Abu Ramadan on CTV’s Ghana Kasa political talk show hosted by Israel Venunye on Wednesday night (10 July 2019) after Tuesday’s ‘kum y?n pr?ko’ demonstration organised by the Coalition for Social Justice, said Ghanaians have known nothing but suffering and hardship under President Nana Akufo-Addo.

“Banks have been collapsed” by the Akufo-Addo government, he said, adding: “People working in the banking sector have now become kebab sellers” as a result of the collapse of some banks by the Bank of Ghana which, he said, has led to the loss of several jobs.

Mr Akamba cited the collapse of Heritage Bank, for instance, whose licence was revoked by the central bank, “just because” its majority shareholder was standing trial on a non-related matter.

The central bank revoked HBL’s licence on Friday, 4 January 2019 on the basis that the majority shareholder, Mr Seidu Agongo, among other things, used proceeds realised from alleged fraudulent contracts he executed for the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), for which he and former COCOBOD CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni are being tried, to set up the bank.

Announcing the withdrawal of the licence, the Governor of the central bank, Dr Ernest Addison told journalists – when asked if he did not deem the action as premature, since the COCOBOD case was still in court – that: “The issue of Heritage Bank, I wanted to get into the law with you, I don’t know if I should, but we don’t need the court’s decision to take the decisions that we have taken. We have to be sure of the sources of capital to license a bank; if we have any doubt, if we feel that it’s suspicious, just on the basis of that we find that that is not acceptable as capital. We don’t need the court to decide for us whether anybody is ‘fit and proper’, just being involved in a case that involves a criminal procedure makes you not fit and proper”.

HBL has been added to the all-new state-owned Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited (CBG), which was first formed when the central bank collapsed some five local banks in August last year. They included the Royal Bank, The Beige Bank, The Construction Bank, Sovereign Bank and uniBank. Premium Bank was also added to CMG after it was collapsed, too.

Just recently, some staff of HBL accused the Receiver from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mr Vish Ashiagbor of shortchanging them.

According to them, Mr Ashiagbor has refused to pay what is due them.

Mr Justice Bonney, who spoke on behalf of the staff, questioned the legitimacy of the package being negotiated for them.

He also said they were not consulted in the selection of the person representing the staff in the negotiations.

“They agreed on three-and-a-half months’ salary cap of GHS20,000 with first-quarter fuel allowance and then first quarter clothing allowance.”

“We didn’t get any communication from our reps and before we realised, that agreement had been signed on our behalf. Our head of HR [was not supposed to be] a representative on that negotiation table to the best of our knowledge.”

“Our position is that even with the MoU, we were not communicated to and it was signed by somebody who did not represent our interest,” Mr Bonney said.

In total, about 1,600 bankers lost their jobs in the central bank’s clean-up exercise which first started with the collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank. The two were subsumed by GCB Bank.

Mr Akamba wondered why the Akufo-Addo government would just kill businesses without thinking about how such actions affect the ordinary Ghanaian.

“If you are collapsing banks, think of the ordinary Ghanaian because when they were being employed, they weren’t asked whether they were NDC or NPP members. So, people are roaming about without jobs as a result of the collapse of businesses by this government”.

Using the collapse of Menzgold Ghana Limited to buttress his point, Mr Akamba said: “Menzgold clients have told me that had it not been for the intervention of the Akufo-Addo government, they were still receiving their money regularly”.

Additionally, Mr Akamba said President Akufo-Addo has brought nothing by “tension upon tension into the country” as well as “so much nepotism”.

He also noted that lies and 419 (deception) have become the stock in trade of the Akufo-Addo government, and wondered why Mr Ramadan’s brother-in-law, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has “suddenly become a ‘Digital Vice-President’” and “no more talks about the economy and the exchange rate” as he used to in the run-up to the 2016 polls. “He’s run away”, Mr Akamba said.

In his view, the One District-One Factory promise of the Akufo-Addo government is “419”. “They keep lying”, he stressed. “The Vice-President keeps lying to Ghanaians”. “NPP members are con men and con women. They have no credibility”, Mr Akamba added.

He said the anger against the Akufo-Addo government by the ordinary people who called for the demonstration, was demonstrated by the fact that ‘trotro’ and taxi drivers parked their cars and joined the march since they said they find it difficult to make sales under the current government.

Mr Akamba also claimed that: “A staunch NPP man who was on admission at the hospital, joined the demonstration”. “I won’t mention his name. I personally dropped him back at the hospital after the demonstration”, he told Israel Venunye, adding: “Even the police and soldiers joined the demonstration; Customs officers, too”.

In his view, there are currently two different versions of the NPP – one is the NPP in power being led by President Akufo-Addo and his family, friends and cronies and the second is the NPP which is still in opposition by dint of being loyalists of former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Kofi Atinka

Kofi Atinka