Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday June 01, 2018
The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) is currently investigating the circumstances under which monies disbursed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in support of two liquidated banks were allegedly misapplied.
Reportedly, some members of staff of the Central Bank are neck deep in the unfolding events, with the immediate past Head of Banking Supervision Department at the BoG, Raymond Amanfo, being investigated by EOCO.
EOCO has invited him for questioning over the circumstance surrounding the disbursements which, sources say, never reached the collapsed banks.
The current Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison and his team reported the incident to EOCO.
DAILY GUIDE understands that the banks involved included two private commercial banks: UT Bank and Capital Bank whose collapse set tongues wagging last year.
The Central Bank had revoked their licenses and appointed state-owned Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) to take-over the assets and liabilities of the affected commercial banks.
According to sources, EOCO is also investigating instances where some members of staff of the Central Bank allegedly collected money from some private financial institutions including banks ostensibly to allow them to bend the rules and hide actual information.
The repercussions are believed to have been the recent chaos in the banking sector where some banks who were claiming to be doing well suddenly went into distress.
Reports say some of the BoG staff after collecting huge sums from the banks were able to tamper with their reports and gave the banks ‘sweetheart’ recommendations to make things look as if everything was well.
There are also reports that the Banking Supervision Division was strict on those banks that were not ready for any compromise.
It turned out that the former head of the BoG supervision division was supposed to honour EOCO’s invitation yesterday, but reports say the invitation did not get to him as at press time.
A member of staff who works at the office of the president, Evron Hughes, revealed on social media platform (Facebook) yesterday, how things got out of hand at the Central Bank without any action to save the situation in recent past.
“One of the biggest challenges we have had was having to work with the same people (potentially/criminally) complicit in wrecking havoc in the banking sector, leading to the collapse of UT and Capital Banks, and the placement of Unibank under administration.”
He said, “A case in point, which is now before EOCO, is that of Mr. Raymond Amanfo, then Head of the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana. (Ps: This department is the selfsame unit of the bank charged with making sure that all banks are being compliant with regulations).”
“Based on preliminary investigations conducted by Bank of Ghana, Mr. Amanfo is accused of taking huge sums of money from these banks to falsify documents that enabled them to hide malfeasance, while coming down hard on those who refused to play ball.”
Mr. Hughes further said that “Yet, I remember Mr. Amanfo sitting at the table while we scramble desperately to make sure that these banks do not create a contagion effect on the sector during resolution.”
“This is the state of the situation, fellow Ghanaians, yet some people will claim that folks are being asked to go due to their political affiliations,” he bemoaned, adding “the fact simply is that the rot in the previous administration was facilitated by people who are still at post, who are also part of the people creating mischief by making it seem as if there is some massive corruption going on under the current government in order to take attention off them, and for 'protection' so that they can claim political vendetta.”
He said “We will remain resolute in terms of cleaning up the public sector of corruption, and focus on delivering tangible benefits for all Ghanaians.”
Recently, Governor of BoG hinted that the supervisory role of the Central Bank was weak and said it was the reason why the financial sector was beset with challenges, indicating that some of the staff may not escape punishment.
He said that it undermined the stability of the banking sector and other non-bank financial institutions.
In an article on the “State of the Financial Sector in Ghana,” the governor had said that the Central Bank was taking drastic steps to clean up the financial sector.
“The problems in the financial sector were also reflected in the Microfinance or MFI subsector comprising MFCs, MLCs and FNGOs, and RCBs and the extent of distress in this sub-sector was characterised by severely impaired capital; inability to meet regulatory capital adequacy requirement; generally low asset quality; and liquidity crises. These have culminated in threats to depositors’ funds, thus, eroding public confidence and undermining efforts to promote financial inclusion. Of the total number of 566 licensed MFIs in 2018, 211 are active but distressed or folded up”, he disclosed.
“Also, out of the total number of 141 RCBs, 37 are active but distressed or folded up. In total, it is estimated that 272 out of the 707 institutions in the sub-sector, representing 38.5% are at risk.
“This indicates that approximately GH¢ 740.5 million is owed to an estimated 705,396 depositors of the distressed or folded up MFIs and RCBs. In terms of significance, the deposits under distress form 8.81% and 52.49% of industry total deposits of RCBs and MFIs respectively”, he added.