Beleaguered Board Chairman of the leading local bank in the country, Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Daniel Owiredu, and some members of the board have left many questions hanging after issuing a statement to deny some banking malpractices at the bank.
Following several media allegations that the bank has been granting huge loans to some clients with diminutive security or without collateral and the chairing of the Credit Sub-committee by the Board Chairman, the board of directors issued a rejoinder to debunk the allegation.
“The allegations were false and malicious and should be treated with contempt,” the rejoinder said.
“It should be noted that GCB has the most stringent rules and procedures in the banking industry for the granting of loans and under the leadership of its Board Chairman the bank has continued on its growth path and put in place robust risk management systems,” it added.
However, sources at the bank said, top officials at the bank were not happy with the response since it failed to address critical issues raised in the various media publications.
“Why did the press statement refuse to touch on the board chairman’s role in the Credit sub-committee and his connection with some top officials of the bank? Additionally, the entire press statement was unconvincing. The Board Chairman must come again,” a top official at the bank told this reporter.
According to sources, Mr. Owiredu reviewed the credit policy of the bank which was used by his predecessors—Mr. Fritz Gockel and Mr. Kojo Thompson—respectively and reconstituted the credit sub-committee to enable him chair contrary to concerns raised by some of the board members who totally disagreed with the board chairman on this credit policy.
This development, according to sources, has empowered the Board chairman to unduly influence activities of the committee.
There is also the growing concern of some stakeholders of the bank that Mr. Owiredu is running an “Executive Board” either than the usual “Governing Board” which is currently the best corporate governance practice in the country.
This is because, the sources said the desperate board chairman was always caught in the day-to- day operations of the bank as his consent is needed in daily decisions of the biggest state bank with Ghanaians tax payers being the largest shareholder.
The most worrying aspect of this whole saga, the sources noted was that the final report of the credit sub-committee is usually presented to the board for final approval, which was incidentally chaired by Mr. Owiredu.
“This raises serious conflict of interest and moral issues at the bank”, the sources said.
Mr. Owiredu is an eminent Mechanical Engineer and was the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Executive Vice-President, Managing Director of the then Ashanti Goldfields and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Star Resources Limited, a Canadian mining company operating in Ghana before he was appointed to the GCB Board.
There is currently renovation and rebranding going on with GCB branches nationwide, stay tuned for detail update on this project in our subsequent stories as we unveil once again the immersion of the board chairman and his cronies in this internal project.