Posted: Friday 11th July 2014 at 4:06 am

$3m airlifted to Brazil: BoG shot itself in the foot – expert


Banking consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampong, has told Accra-based Citi FM that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) shot itself in the foot by allowing $3 million to be airlifted to Brazil to pay Black Stars’ appearance fees.

Nana Otuo Acheampong said BoG’s action could prove difficult for the central bank to enforce the recently amended Forex rules and ensure its effectiveness.

He admits, however, that there could be exceptions to every rule but adds, ‘once you grant one exception, then you will continue doing that and that is exactly what they did.’

The banking expert cited the quoting of prices in dollars in the hotel industry as an example saying, ‘they granted one or two hotels [the permission to quote in dollars] and others jumped in and argued that why do you give to A and not B?’

He maintained that if the central bank is granting an exception in its Forex rules, ‘it will just come back to haunt them.’

Government airlifted over $3 million in cash to the Black Stars in Brazil via a chartered plane last month. The money was the national team’s World Cup appearance fees.

It became necessary for government to do this, according Joseph Yamin (then Deputy Sports Minister), because the Black Stars had threatened to boycott a critical Group G match of the tournament.

The government and the central bank have come under fire for the decision to airlift the money to Brazil. The central bank did not raise any protest before or after the cash was airlifted to Brazil.

The event received international attention and criticisms with some questioning the failure of the government to use other alternatives in sending the money to Brazil.

Various institutions such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) and the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) have accused the government of violating the nation’s laws.

Section 15 (1) of Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) states that ‘each payment in foreign currency, to or from Ghana between a resident and a non resident, or between non residents shall be made through a bank.”

Although Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Kofi Wampah, has admitted that he sanctioned the payment the Black stars in dollars in Brazil, he insists he did not give the approval for the money to be airlifted. This is the first time the BoG Governor has spoken openly about the matter.

He also insists, no laws have been violated.
[GN]

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