Expedite investigations – BoG Governor to Law enforcers

Business News of Sunday, 19 January 2020

Source: www.laudbusiness.com

2020-01-19

Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, has urged law enforcement agencies and criminal investigative authorities to speed up their investigations into what he describes as several suspicious transactions brought to their attention by the Receivers of the nine collapsed banks, in order to facilitate prosecutions.

Addressing participants at the New Year School and Conference organised by the University of Ghana, Dr Addison said: “To some extent, the recovery efforts have been hampered by frivolous legal challenges mounted by some complicit persons intending to frustrate the Receivers.

“These schemes ought not to be countenanced by the courts, as they do not inure to the benefit of the real victims of these multiple failures, the taxpayers, that have had to pay for the cost of these failures, and must not be left holding the raw end of the stick in the circumstances.”

The details of suspicious transactions, misappropriation of funds, false accounting and misreporting have been referred to the criminal investigative authorities and the Attorney General.

The Governor said: “We expect that criminal behaviour, once established, will be prosecuted and the perpetrators brought to book. We will continue to urge the law enforcement agencies and criminal investigative authorities to expedite their investigations into several suspicious transactions brought to their attention by the Receivers to facilitate prosecutions that may be necessary to ensure that justice is served.”

He reiterated that the central bank has undertaken a comprehensive and detailed internal investigation into possible complicity of its staff, adding that the management has sent clear signals to the staff about the need to ensure discipline and professionalism in line with the bank’s new Code of Conduct that was launched in May 2019 alongside the establishment of the Ethics and Internal Investigations Office.

He noted that the revocation of the 420 licences, in total, was a painful but necessary exercise to sanitise the financial system while creating the environment for stronger and well-run institutions to thrive and play their expected role of supporting businesses of all sizes and households.

In the case of the failed banks, he said: “One thing was clear and that is: banks were set up overnight by little or no capital and by persons with little or no experience in running successful banks. What is more, all the resolved banks were managed or controlled by shareholders with complete disregard for prudential norms and best practices in corporate governance and the management of banks.”

“It became clear”, the Governor noted, “That these institutions were set up to use depositors’ funds to finance other businesses of shareholders or other related or connected companies. In the process, oligarchies were formed involving various groups of companies under the control of common shareholding by a few politically-connected persons whose relationship with political authorities gave them a false sense of protection from the law and dared to do the unthinkable at the expense of depositors whose funds were used to keep these groups going.”

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