General News of Monday, 21 January 2019
Former Second Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana says he is ready to face prosecution following allegations linking him to the banking crisis.
“I am ready, I have nothing to hide,” Dr Johnson Asiama braced himself in an interview with Raymond Acquah on Upfront.
The third National Vice-Chairperson of the governing New Patriotic Party Michael Omari Wadie has pointed accusing fingers at Dr. Asiama over the financial crisis that has led to the collapse of nine local banks.
Dr. Asiama confirmed in the interview, he is under investigation at the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
The former deputy Governor who lasted 21 months in office said following his exit he has “heard a lot of tip offs that there are hawks in the party who think that I should be slaughtered.”
Fingers have been pointed at the Bank of Ghana over the country’s financial crisis and its failure to enforce banking regulations.
Banks were allegedly set up without meeting the minimum capital requirements, while liquidity support to some struggling banks ended up being used to set up new banks.
There are also reports that millions in liquidity support to some banks was used to say thank you to top officials at BoG for okaying the release of public funds to private bankers.
Dr. Johnson Asiama, denied taking any money from banks which received such support.
Image result for second deputy governor of bank of ghana asiama
Photo: Dr. Johnson Asiama was replaced with Elsie Addo Awadzi as Second Deputy Governor
“I don’t need that. Governors are well paid,” he dismissed.
He said his work at the central bank was all done “in good faith” and explained the best way to look at the financial crisis was not to personalize it or politicize it.
He said context was important in unravelling the crisis. He said banks began struggling not because of corporate governance lapses but because of the power crisis.
“The problem was not anybody’s doing it had to do with the dumsor,” he said and explained banks were overexposed after giving loans to government to solve the power crisis which began in 2012 and went on well into 2015.
Banks coughed up monies to fund the importation of crude oil, gas and also procuring power plants as the country went into a period of painful loadshedding and its resultant public agitations.
Dr. Asiama said this context made it difficult for the banks to operate as government failed to pay back some of these monies.
At least unibank founder Dr. Kwabena Duffour has challenged the withdrawal of his bank’s licence citing government indebtedness created a credit crisis.