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Parliamentary committee to probe collapse of uniBank and UT Bank

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

The Speaker of Parliament has directed the constitution of a seven-member parliamentary committee to consider a petition by the former Chief Executive Officer of the UT Bank, Mr Kofi Amoabeng, and the founder of the Unibank Ghana Limited, Dr Kwabena Duffour, over the collapse of the two banks in 2018.

He said the committee must submit a report to the House in the form of a motion for the entire House to debate the petition and urged the leadership of the House to facilitate the formation of the committee.

“If at the end of the day we get the sense that there is a matter pending, we will be guided by the content of speeches that members will make on the floor and that is the time that we can apply Order 93,” he stated.

Addressing Parliament today, Mr Bagbin said: “The decision of the House is what the Speaker will go by; I am not a Member of Parliament (MP) and do not participate in decisions. I am to guide the proceedings of the House and make sure there is law and order”.

The Speaker’s proposal came after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, tabled the petition by Mr Amoabeng and Dr Duffuor in the House yesterday.

Read also: Non-performing loans, thievery by staff collapsed UT Bank – Amoabeng

Petitions

Per the petition, the two personalities are appealing to Parliament to investigate the conduct of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for the revocation of the licenses of the bank in 2018.

They claim that the central bank revoked the licenses of the two banks without due regard to the rules of Administrative Justice guaranteed under Article 23 of the Constitution.

They, therefore, want Parliament to direct the restoration of the banking licenses and remedying of the harm done the shareholders’ property rights as a result of the conduct of the central bank, as well as give any other directive the House may deem appropriate.

For Mr Amoabeng, he wants Parliament to investigate the conduct of the Ghana Stock Exchange for delisting the bank without regard to the rules of Administrative Justice guaranteed under article 23 of the Constitution.

In the case of Dr Duffour, he wants Parliament to investigate the conduct of the BoG in the takeover, appointment of an official administrator of uniBank Ghana Limited and the circumstances surrounding the revocation of the banking license of the bank.

He also wants Parliament to give other directives that Parliament may deem appropriate, according to the petition.

Read also: uniBank collapse: Court grants Duffuor, others GH¢60 million bail

Right to admit petitions

Responding to the petition, the Speaker said per the rules of Parliament, when a citizen had concern and was to petition Parliament, he did so through a Member of Parliament, who had two options to present such motion.

He said the member could come through the direction of the Speaker to lay the petition or go through the process of motion.

With Parliament’s rules being scanty on how the House must handle such petition processes, Mr Bagbin said the House must work out processes and procedures on how to handle petitions in the new Standing Orders.

“It is not for the Speaker to be a jury and a judge at the same time. The Speaker does not take the decisions of the House but it is the House that takes the decisions,” he said.

According to him, due to the nature of the petition, the petitioners and others would have to appear before the committee, a practice that pertained to other Parliaments.

He explained that what he had done was to admit the petition, explaining that “by reason of the Constitution and Standing Orders I do not have powers to be disallowing petitions”.

Read also: uniBank directors, shareholders sued over bank collapse

Majority Leader disagrees

In a reaction, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said he strongly disagreed with the position the Speaker wanted to take.

“You have made a statement to the effect the petition must be referred to a committee to make some proposals so but perhaps, we will leave it like that. But I disagree with the position that you have taken,” he said.

He indicated the House was already inundated with several petitions.