Ghana needs strong people to enforce laws

BY: Theophilus Yartey
Mr Ace Anan Ankomah
Mr Ace Anan Ankomah

Ghana needs strong men and women who will be bold enough to enforce the laws in the country, Managing Partner of Bentsi-Enchil, Letsa and Ankomah, Mr Ace Anan Ankomah, has stated.

While praising the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, for the bold steps he is taking in the country’s banking sector by revoking the licences of seven banks since last year, he said what the country needed at this time was more of such people and not enacting more laws.

“Former US President Barack Obama said something about Africa, which is probably true.

He said Africa didn’t need strong men and women, we “need strong institutions.” He might have been right for Africa, but wrong about Ghana. He didn’t read his notes.

Ghana has every institution to flourish, what we lack are the men to enforce the laws,” he said.

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Mr Ankomah, who is also a member of pressure group, Occupy Ghana, was speaking at a forum in Accra on Wednesday organised by the Danquah Institute.

The forum was on the theme, “The banking sector clean-up - Are the depositors safe?”

Citing the recent happenings in the country’s banking sector, he said: “We have had laws in the country since 1963 that could have stopped this.”

“The Registrar General alone can stop this without it even getting to the Bank of Ghana.

Where are the powers of the Bank of Ghana? Where are the powers of the state? Are there lawyers in the institutions? Where are the auditors?” he asked.

“Why has this gone on? Everyone assumes that the Bank of Ghana may not or has not done a lot or maybe anything historically.

In Ghana, the Banking Act, Act 930 which literally crowns the BoG as the god of banking in Ghana is one of the powerful statutes regulating banks anywhere in the world.

“We saw the mess and realised that the previous Act was probably not broad enough to cover it so a new law was passed to give Ghana the power to deal with it,” he noted.

“So Obama was wrong.

We have the institutions, we have the laws, whence cometh the men and women? That is why I am not ashamed to say two thumbs up to Dr Addison and his current team,” he said.

Prosecute directors

Mr Ankomah also called for the prosecution of directors who are found culpable.

“The assets of a company do not belong to the directors and shareholders. Mister or Madam Shareholder, your only entitlement to the money of the company is in your dividend.

Your dividend comes when the company has made profit. You are only paid a dividend when the directors have declared a profit,” he said.

“Apart from that, the Companies Act which we passed in 1963 makes it illegal for any other distributions to shareholders.

In fact, to distribute anything to shareholders, you have to go to court. So you cannot put your money in and take it out; this is not a susu scheme.

It is pure business. All they get is a dividend.

You are not entitled to take a car or home loan,” he added.

Companies Act

Mr Ankomah also pointed out that under the laws of the country the Registrar General could institute its own enquiry and demand all records or books in the case where a company is being run fraudulently and if people are being defrauded by the company.

“If they determine that wrong has been done, and that depositors’ money is being blown on properties and assets and being shifted through layers of companies, the companies’ registrar has the power to write to the Attorney General, make a report and the directors would be prosecuted,” he explained.

“Not that only, but the Registrar General can go to court and seek a court order for the just and equitable winding up. We have had this law in our statutes books since 1963, but I have no record of any decided case where this power has been exercised.

We might just pass a few more laws and rub ourselves on the back for being current but what we need now is the men to enforce these laws,” he stated.