An 11-page leaked letter dated January 25, 2019, from Attorney General Gloria Akufo has exposed Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta as the man behind the collapse of UniBank, belonging to former Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffour.
A copy of the leaked letter in the possession of Whatsup News shows that President Akufo Addo may have been “misled about the relevant facts informing the impugned decisions culminating in the revocation of the licence of UniBank…,”
The AG’s letter signed by the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, indicated that the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) were complicit in inexplicably hastening the revocation of the license of the embattled bank.
For instance, on June 22, 2018, the official administrator appointed to look into the difficulties faced by UniBank (KPMG) wrote to the Finance Ministry that the government was owing UniBank by some GHC 870 million, of which the Finance Minister responded on July 12, 2018, that it was sorting out the debt with the BoG.
About three weeks after this assurance by the Finance Minister, the BoG on August 1, 2018, wrote strangely to UniBank revoking its operational license.
Additionally, the BoG questionably handed the assets of UniBank to the newly formed Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG), even though the CBG did not yet have an official certificate to commence business in Ghana.
“We note that CBG was incorporated on 1st August 2018 and a certificate to commence business was issued to that bank on 2nd August 2018. We also observe that selected assets and liabilities of the 5 banks were transferred to [CBG] on 1st August, 2018 via a Purchase and Assumption transaction, before the grant of a certificate to commence a business,” stated the letter from the AG’s office.
It warned that the transfer of the assets of UniBank and five other liquidated banks to CBG on that day constituted a criminal offence as contained in Ghana’s Company Act: “ 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…”
“From the decision taken by the BoG on 1st August 2018, it is apparent that the mandatory duties of a receiver, such as publication and registration of notice of receivership and taking of an inventory of the assets and property of uniBank and publication of same in two daily newspapers of national circulation were not done before the receiver entered into a Purchase and Assumption transaction with CBG”
Such a confirmation would also lend light to the allegation by owners of the defunct Capital Bank that Mr. Ofori- Atta may have masterminded the takeover of Capital as a matter of personal vendetta. According to the owners of Capital, Ofori-Atta, had prior to the NPP coming into office, approached them and propositioned them with a buyout but they had refused.
According to the letter, the BoG and its receivers circumvented several procedures in their bid to close down UniBank, including sections in the banking Act 930 that required that the receiver (KPMG) prepares a report of liquidation of Unibank that should contain the number of assets likely to be realised in a liquidation of the bank and a proposal to make the bank carry out corrective measures by either capital increase or minimise disruption to depositors funds.
That same letter had been copied to the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, who led the Government’s onslaught against banks that the government said had become insolvent due to mismanagement.
Some 8 indigenous banks collapsed as a result of this alleged banking sector clean-up. The first two, UT Bank and Capital Bank were taken over by Ghana Commercial Bank in August 2017. The Royal Bank, Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank, Construction Bank and UniBank were consolidated a year later into the CBG in August 2018.
The reason for the revocation of its license given by the government was that UniBank and the other banks had become insolvent and could not come up with Ghc400million minimum capital requirement. However, as at the time of this revocation, the same government owed UniBank some Ghc1.3billion.