ADB Board denies allegations; accuses workers of peddling ‘outright lies, half truths’

The Board of Directors of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has denied allegations of misappropriation of funds leveled against them and the Managing Director.

In a statement copied to Joy News, the Board said the allegations by a section of the employees of the Bank led by the UNICOF are “outright lies and half- truths”.

According to them it was imperative for the Board to” issue this statement in the bid to clarify certain matters and also assure the public that contrary to the lies being peddled in the media the Managing Director and the Board are not incompetent.”

The issue about ADB came to light after a decision to sell its Head Office for $10million only to pay a monthly rent of È»1 million for a new office caused a stir and dissatisfaction amongst the bank’s staff.

The bank, now headquartered at the Accra Financial Centre (AFC) after moving from its ADB house off the Independence Avenue in Accra, is paying the Ȼ1 million monthly rent to the AFC, a building it has 10% stake in.

The Bank was also reported to be paying $67,260 monthly for parking space for its workers.

The staff of the bank questioned the board’s decision to move and make such outrageous expenditure.

They also kicked against the planned sale of shares of the bank through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and called for an audit into the operations of the bank before it goes public.

The sale of the IPO and the bank’s former head office was suspended after government’s intervention.

The intervention also led to the suspension of a planned demonstration by the staff of the bank.

A committee has been set up by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to investigate the issue.

Below is a copy of the statement
PRESS STATEMENT
HAPPENINGS AT THE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK LIMITED

For the past two or so weeks, the Agricultural Development Bank Limited had been in the news (both print and electronic) with various allegations against the Managing Director and the Board of Directors by a section of the employees of the Bank led by the UNICOF . Most of the allegations are outright lies and half- truths and it has become necessary for the Board to issue this statement in the bid to clarify certain matters and also assure the public that contrary to the lies being peddled in the media the Managing Director and the Board are not incompetent.

We wish to state from the outset that the Bank is now a limited liability company incorporated under the Companies Act and governed by its regulations. This fact should not be lost on anybody and those who are questioning how come that a statutory corporation has become a limited liability company could consult their lawyers for an explanation. The Board wishes to state that there is no petition or a copy of any petition or any other issue that had been placed before it by the Union. All the allegations are matters that members of the Board hear from the media. Under normal circumstances the Board could have kept quiet, as it does not know what to respond to because there is something new in the media every day. So what exactly should the Board respond to? An accused person must know the specific allegations against him to enable him respond appropriately. It is not so in this case and all we hear in the news are that members of the Board and the Managing Director are criminals and incompetent and must be sacked.

Even though the Board finds it difficult in the circumstances, it has decided to respond to some of the specific issues it had heard in the news, believing that they are really coming from the Union.

Sale of ADB House
When the bank decided to move to the new head office, the previous board decided to dispose of the former head office of the bank situated on the Independence Avenue. The property was valued at GHs17.00 million. The necessary procedures were adopted, the sale was advertised in the national dailies and bids invited from prospective buyers. There were two highest bidders for the sum of USD10.00 million. The Board decided to select the local bidder among them. However, the successful bidder could not satisfy the terms and conditions of the sale and the sale contract was accordingly terminated and the property had remained unsold even before the workers’ agitation.

Sale of Mercedes-Benz Saloon Car
The Board Chairman has been accused of purchasing a 6 year old Mercedes-Benz saloon car at a ridiculous price of Ghs2, 500.00. The fact of the matter is that the vehicle, together with other vehicles belonging to the bank were boarded and put up for sale by auction in accordance with the bank’s asset disposal policy. Prior to the sale all the vehicles were valued by Inter City STC. The Mercedes-Benz Saloon car the Chairman bought was valued at the sum of USD20,000.00. The Chairman accordingly paid the Cedi equivalent of the value of the car and not the sum of GHs2,500.00 or GHs4,000.00 as being peddled particularly by Adom FM.

Loans to Directors
The Board has been accused of granting loans to directors of the Bank with the mention of the specific name of Mr. Maurice Tanco Abisa -Seidu. Mr. Abisa-Siedu had been a customer of the bank for over 20 years before even becoming a director. His loan application was first considered by the Credit Committee of Management and subsequently recommended to the Board for consideration. The Board approved the loan at its meeting held on 26th March 2015 at an interest rate of Base plus 5% which is equivalent to 32%. Therefore it is untrue that the loan was granted at the rate of 5% as being peddled on Adom FM. Indeed the Banking Act allows directors to access credit facilities provided due process is followed and in this instance due process had been followed and the loan facility is yet to be disbursed.

New Head Office
Management and the Board have been accused of being extravagant by moving into a new head office. The Bank had operated from rented premises for several years until the acquisition of the Pegasus House to serve as its head office. Even then the Pegasus House could not accommodate all the Head office staff. Thus management had to rent premises at Osu, Nima, Achimota and Spintex road to accommodate those departments and units which could not find space at Pegasus.

In the meantime the bank had a vacant plot of land adjacent the Cedi house earmarked for a head office building. Owing to financial constraints the land had lied idle for years and was being used by the public as a free parking lot. Then the new management decided to add value to the land and accordingly incorporated a joint venture company with Accra One ( Agridev Real Estate Limited) with the sole objective of developing the land into a building complex.

The Bank has a 10% shareholding in the joint venture company with the possibility of increasing it to 1 5% after construction. The bank is a joint owner of the property and also the anchor tenant paying a rent of USD37.00 per m2 which includes all the tenant fit outs.

The Board is satisfied that by the arrangement a non-income earning asset has been converted into an income earning asset. Furthermore, it has made it possible to house all head office departments at one location. The advantages of this cannot be overemphasised.

Confidential Information and Documents in Public Domain

The Board is very much concerned that confidential information and documents particularly customer information have been leaked to the press by a section of the employees without any justification contrary to and in breach of the oath of secrecy they have ascribed to. The employment contracts of certain management staff including the Managing Director and the Board Secretary have all been placed in the social media without any justifiable cause. The terms of employment of the Managing Director and the Board Secretary are determined by the Board and not by themselves. A management/employee dispute cannot be a justification for the leakage of confidential information particularly those of our cherished customers. At the appropriate time these matters will be investigated.

The Board wishes to take this opportunity to apologize to the numerous customers of the bank and to assure them and the general public that the bank is operating throughout all its branches rendering all banking services. The Government has requested the Bank of Ghana to examine the issues that had been put in the public domain which it is doing and the Board is also examining some of the issues that had been brought to its attention in order to restore peace.

The Board wishes to thank those customers who have continued to ° patronize the bank’s services and other members of the general public who have come out to support the bank.

Above all it is the hope of the Board that Government will continue to support the bank particularly in its bid to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange so as to give Ghanaians the opportunity to be part-owners.


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