Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana

BoG given 45 days to report on ADB Bank saga

The Bank of Ghana has up to 45 days to come out with findings about allegations of conflict of interest in the sale of ADB Bank properties and bad governance issues within the bank.

The industry regulator is also expected to interrogate and examine other matters raised by the unionised workers of the bank.

These came to light when the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, met with the management and unionised workers of the bank to find an amicable solution to the impasse within the bank in the last couple of weeks.

The issues

Some management decisions to turn around the fortunes of the bank have backfired. The management’s decision to dispose of its head office building for an alleged amount of $10million and rent a new place for GhC1million,  pay US$100 a month for each vehicle parked in the building, coupled with the decision of the bank to issue an IPO, forced the unionised workers to question the deal. 

To the unionised workers of the bank, there are question marks around the deals which included conflict of interest and corporate governance issues which when allowed to pass, will not inure to the benefit of the bank.

The decision of the management to proceed with its intended action forced the mother union of the bank to increase pressure on the management to stay its action or face its wrath through demonstrations among others.

The dent on the bank

The issues surrounding the actions of the management of the bank which has been performing well in the last four years, is beginning to dent its image, a phenomenon which could affect its IPO.

Many banking and investment analysts have expressed regret at the turn of events within the bank and feared its negative impact on the image of the bank.

Some have argued that the bank may not be able to raise the amount it requires from the IPO because of the issues about the size of bad and doubtful debts sitting on the books of the state-owned bank.

According to them, once investors are in the know that the bank has been granting loans to individuals and companies without any due diligence, their investments cannot be guaranteed.

For instance, it has been alleged that one of the board members of the bank was granted a loan of GhC400,000 at a time  the bank had sent a message to its staff that it could no longer offer them loans because of the financial position of the bank.

Union reacts

Meanwhile, Mr John Esiope, General Secretary of UNICOF, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview that the decision reached at the meeting chaired by the labour minister will be communicated to the rank and file of the members.

Asked about whether the union was satisfied with the turn of events, he said: “Our satisfaction is to the extent that the process to get to the bottom of the issues is beginning. For us, that is the satisfaction we have. But whether it is far-reaching enough is another thing and so we will still be on guard because we think that anything can happen.”

According to him “the answers we seek will be found in the details. Now we have the generals. If we begin to see concrete efforts to ensure that the governance issues, conflict of interest and operational matters and so on, are in line and in sync with the principles, why not. So yes to the extent that the government has intervened, we are happy.”

Regarding the days proposed for the regulator to come out with a report, he said “that is the timelines given to the regulator to report on all the issues that have been raised and we have no choice but to cooperate and wait because we cannot accuse management and pronounce judgement at the same time”.

“So the logical thing to do is to allow the systems to work and we trust in the system,” he said, but noted again that “At the same time we will be on guard and that you can be assured of.”

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