A leaked 17-page document from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) on January 25, 2019, shows a bitter argument between the central bank and the Attorney General’s Department (AG) over the manner in which UniBank was liquidated and handed over to the Ken-Ofori-Atta inspired Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG).
The BoG letter is a confidential document that has been intercepted by Whatsup News. It content is in response to a letter written that same day by the AG’s department where the AG listed a plethora of due process circumventions during the official liquidation and eventual revocation of the banking license of UniBank.
Of particular contention between the two public institutions are the strange circumstances under which UniBank’s license was revoked on Augusts 1, 2018 in sync with the formation of CBG, which will eventually take it over. Also, of interest was the fact that the BoG handed UniBank to CBG on August 1, 2018, even though CGB was officially allowed to commence business on August 2, 2018.
Indeed, in the AG’s letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, he warned that process amounted to a criminal offence under Ghana’s Companies Code.
“Section 27 of the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) prohibits a company incorporated in Ghana from transacting a business until it has satisfied the provisions therein and has been issued with a certificate to commence business. A violation of this provision constitutes a criminal offence for which the company and every officer of the company shall suffer penalty…,” the AG’s letter read.
However, in its response, the BoG curiously claimed there was nothing wrong with handing UniBank’s assets to CBG before it was officially allowed to commence business. “On 1st August 2018 when CBG was incorporated, it became a legal entity with the powers to enter into transactions, execute transaction documents, and acquire and hold property, among other things,” BoG argued
“…The BoG issued a banking license to CBG on the same day, and approved the purchase and Assumption Agreement between the Receiver [of UniBank] and CBG by the end of the same day. Neither the acquisition of a license by CBG nor the acquisition of assets and liabilities, constitute the commencement of business. These were actions taken in preparation for the commencement of business on a later date.”
Critics have wondered why the BoG was in such a haste to liquidate UniBank and hand its assets over to CBG, despite UniBank’s insistence that it was wrongfully being liquidated.
The argument between the AG’s office and the BoG has only reinforced allegations that UniBank was deliberately collapsed by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who prior to his appointment as Finance Minister owned an Investment brokerage firm and other financial institutions in what is increasingly being seen a personal vendetta against targeted banks in the country.
Indeed, a former Deputy Governor of the BoG recently issued a damning press statement that sought to validate the perception that Mr. Ofori-Atta was the architect of the collapse of UniBank and some of the other collapsed Ghanaian banks, such as UT Bank, Capital Bank, among others.
According to Dr. Asiama, prior to the bank’s collapse, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) noticed that several government agencies were owing UniBank over GHC 1.3 billion, mostly through the Finance Ministry headed by Mr. Ofori-Atta, and that that debt could potentially cripple UniBank.
According to Dr. Asiama the BoG actually invited Ken Ofori-Atta to discuss how the bank could be saved from the predicament brought upon it by government debts, but he refused to oblige the central bank.
“The Minister of Finance was actually invited to the Bank, based on my promptings to discuss these payments to UNIBANK, but he declined suggestions, on the grounds that UNIBANK had gotten enough support to thrive,” Dr. Asiama revealed in a statement issued over the weekend.
He added that: “Clearly, if at least part of these payments were done at the time, UNIBANK could have avoided the persistent daily clearing failures that eventually shut them out of the interbank money market.”