The Bank of Ghana’s recent ‘clean up’ of the banking sector may have resembled a reasonable exercise worthy of praise but some evil sins deliberately by the Bank against Heritage Bank which is not, and has not been insolvent is making nonsense of the real intention of the so-called clean up exercise.
The arbitrary GHc400 million minimum capital require cleanup not a challenge to Heritage Bank which at the time of the minister assault on it had GHc120.6 million in its accounts. To avoid suspicion of the planned evil against the Bank, Dr. Ernest Addison made himself a law and declared that the majority shareholder Mr. Seidu Agongo’s involvement in a ‘criminal proceedings’ in court made him “not fit and proper” to own a Bank.
Every reasonable Ghanaian should fear this dangerous precedence being championed by Bank of Ghana’s Dr. Ernest Addison. Not even the common sense dictum that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty has cautioned Dr. Ernest Addison to resist the pushing by his whimsical masters to let reason prevail. We have been pondering whether Addison will dare collapse a solvent Bank in these circumstances if it were owned by an Akyem or an Akan businessman!
And what insult can one accept from a person like him except describing a fellow human being as not fit and proper? Is it because Mr. Seidu Agongo is a Northerner so he is not fit and proper? Have we become improper people in our own country? What is the crime of Mr. Agongo? That he was accused but not proven guilty? Or because Heritage Bank is healthy and must not be owned by a Northerner?
For the records Heritage Bank met the minimum capital requirement without question. The source of its majority shares has been stated honestly as funds the majority holder; Mr. Seidu Agongo got from a contract he had with COCOBOD. Is it now a crime to make and invest money from contracts? Or it is because a Northerner is involved so it should be wrong? Seidu Agongo never borrowed from his own Bank, there was no regulatory infractions by the Bank, the Bank has always complied with all regulations of the Bank of Ghana, does not launder money, has a strong balance sheet, very solvent with no liquidity issues, Why has it been treated this way? Where should its numerous staffs go to feed?
Our concern is that Mr. Agongo is one of the few Northerners who has risen to that level, the only Northerner to own a Bank and collapsing him for no just cause amongst to an attack on all Northerners. Many of us from the North are beneficiaries of his benevolence, takes inspiration from him, so what now become of us and the younger generation who stand to benefit from him? Fairness and justice is what we are talking about. Lets note that whoever wants to contest the bone being given to a child must first and foremost be ready to contend with the tears of that child.
Even Hon. Ken Ofori Atta, the Finance Minister who was exposed in the Panama Papers still owns Data Bank which is being protected sacrosanctly. Other Banks that did not meet regulatory requirements are receiving support with our pension monies. What sense is there in collapsing a Bank that has no problem and poses no threat to the financial sector? Well because Mr. Agongo is not from Akyem land, he should be considered not fit and proper? We are watching very carefully; the evil that men do lives long after them.
We are appealing to civil society organisations, clergy, Chiefs, well meaning Ghanaians and stakeholders who are interested in a vibrant Banking sector for Ghana and mean well for our economy and worried about the unemployment canker threatening our security as a Nation to appeal to the Bank of Ghana to rethink its decision of revoking the license of Heritage Bank. Let’s all be guided by the remarks of the renowned Economist from the University of Cape Coast, Prof. John Gatsi that the action of the Bank of Ghana and Dr. Ernest Addison who have themselves a law and declared Mr. Seidu Agongo not fit and proper to own a Bank; “unfair and a dangerous precedent”. Lets watch it.