January 20, 2020
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No bank wanted to acquire toxic UT Bank – BoG

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr. Ernest Addison has stated that before the central bank revoked the license of UT Bank, it was unsuccessful in getting a local bank to take over the reins of the Price Amoabeng founded bank.

According to him, the books of the bank were so bad that even the banks that expressed interest in acquiring the bank wanted the central bank to provide the funds to carry out the acquisition as well as cater for the existing liabilities.

The Governor who was speaking at the Annual New Year School at the University of Ghana added that the central bank run out of options other than to revoke UT Bank’s license and grant permission for GCB Bank to take over their good assets.

“So bad was the financial condition of UT Bank that when BoG engaged with other banks to explore whether they would be willing to acquire the bank and rehabilitate it, they showed an unwillingness to do so after they had conducted their own independent due diligence on the bank.

In fact, one of such potential bank acquirers after their due diligence exercise noted: “The poor quality of loans assets, potential tax liabilities, existing litigations and demands by third party lenders for settlement of their accounts makes the acquisition of UT bank as a going concern, a highly unattractive and risky proposition”.

According to the governor, the conclusion was arrived at based on the following factors: UT bank had not filed corporate tax returns since 2015, Asset quality was extremely poor with NPLs of 44 percent, Loans that had been classified as performing had not been serviced for a year, indicating that the NPL ratio was underestimated, Collateral security for loans had not been perfected and in most of the cases, the security of loans had not been stamped or registered, The bank was in default of borrowing from several international lenders including the IFC, DEG, There was active litigation against the bank (valued at over GH¢170 million), and the bank had excessive risk concentration to a few major depositors.

The governor recounts that the potential acquirer’s overall assessment was that the net asset value of UT Bank was negative and the only way it could consider an acquisition of the bank would be on condition that the BoG would provide this acquiring institution with the capital to buy UT, as well as provide liquidity support, and provide it with the financial support to acquire the necessary software to run the bank.

“What is more, the potential acquirer insisted that it would retain only 70 employees of UT bank if it acquired the bank assuming it received the financial support from BoG to do so. Obviously, the Management of Bank of Ghana did not accept these proposals as to do this would have meant that the BoG would have been paying private investors to take over the bank,” Dr. Addison stated.

The governor’s remarks come after the commencement of the prosecution of the founder and Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng who has been charged with stealing and money laundering in respect of his role at the defunct bank prior to its demise.

He was granted bail by a Circuit Court in Accra on Tuesday.

Source: www.citibusinessnews.com

Siemens, GRIDCO sign $250m Energy Infrastructure Deal

Siemens, a German global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ghana through the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) under the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) initiative.

The agreement will see Siemens working collaboratively with GRIDCo to upgrade and extend Ghana’s power transmission infrastructure, improve the country’s grid capacity and stability, as well as enable and expand a stable power export to neighbouring countries in the West African Power Pool.

Addressing the President during a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House to seal the deal, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, said he was pretty much excited that the deal has finally been completed.

“The MOU we have signed together with our partners, GRIDCO, is aimed at modernizing the whole grid of Ghana to bring power to the people in a more efficient way,” Mr Kaeser said.

President Akufo-Addo in response to the submissions of the Siemens CEO noted that the signing of the MOU is a very important development in the history of the country.

“This is a very welcomed development for us and the idea that Ghana is the first country on the continent to be getting a very significant transaction out the Compact (G20 Compact with Africa, CwA) is in itself a big vote of confidence by the German Leadership”. “We welcome that expression of confidence and we want to assure you that the monies will be put to good use”

Siemens is one of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies. Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. In infrastructure and industry solutions, the company plays a pioneering role.

The G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure.

The CwA’s primary objective is to increase the attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks.

Source: starrfm.com.gh

Defunct UT Bank’s Kofi Amoabeng charged with stealing, money laundering

The founder of UT Group, Prince Kofi Amoabeng has been put before an Accra circuit court for his role in the collapse of his bank in 2017.

Mr. Amoabeng is facing charges of stealing and money laundering.

Citi News‘ court correspondent, Fred Tettey Djabanor said Kofi Amoabeng was put before court together with the CEO of defunct Beige Bank, Mike Nyinaku.

According to the prosecution, the two men who run different organizations allegedly misappropriated funds in excess of GH¢200 million belonging to their customers.

The prosecution said investigations were still ongoing into their separate cases to ascertain the full extent of their offences.

The Court, presided over by Justice Essandor, subsequently granted Mr. Amoabeng bail to the tune of GHS110 million cedis with two sureties who earn not less than GHS 2,000.

The Bank of Ghana on August 14, 2017, announced that it had revoked the license of UT Bank and ordered GCB Bank to take over its operation because it had severe capital impairment.

Provisional figures released by the central bank showed the total liability of UT Bank stood at GH¢850 million while its total asset was pegged at GH¢112 million.

Speaking on the matter after nearly two years after the BoG’s action, Kofi Amoabeng in a TV interview said the fortunes of the bank could’ve been turned around if the Bank of Ghana had given him more time.

The government found us in that situation, [but] was this the best route to take? because we had investors who were ready with some proposals. They [government] decided that the best thing is to close down UT Bank which I find really difficult to take but from where they are sitting, they decide that was the best thing for the country. I don’t bear grudges but the point is, if as UT Bank we owed GH¢800 million and an investor comes and he says I’m ready to pay GH¢400 million [so] Bank of Ghana write off the [other] GH¢400 million, but BoG takes a decision to close down the bank which will cost the nation at least GH¢ 2.2 billion, it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

Source: citinewsroom.com

ECG recoups about GH¢1.5m in revenue, over 100 defaulters arrested

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has recouped over GHC1 million after more than 100 defaulters were arrested during the festive period across the country.

The power distributor has indicated that it will intensify its unannounced night swoops to clamp down on illegal power consumers throughout the year.

The ECG taskforce stormed some hotels and night clubs to arrest customers engaged in power theft and illegal connection which is said to be costing the utility company over $238million annually.

“Electricity Company of Ghana is suffering a lot from power theft, our system losses constitute about %24.6 of our losses and %1 of these losses translates into approximately $17million,” General Manager of Revenue Protection, Michael Twum Barimah said.

He added that the unannounced visitations will be undertaken at night wherever electricity is being used and with the aid of the Taskforce ECG is bent on crushing on power theft.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

PEF urges payment of locked up funds after assurance from Akufo Addo

Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation, Nana Osei Bonsu has charged President Akuffo Addo to follow up with the assurance of ensuring the central bank settles businesses who have their monies locked up in collapsed financial institutions.

He says the government must, as a matter of priority, ensure locked up cash is paid within the next thirty days so business can sustain their operations.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Nana Osei Bonsu said the ultimate goal will be for businesses who found their monies locked up receive them within the next thirty days.

“For the president coming out that he’s engaging Ministry of Finance and Bank of Ghana to try to create the quantum of resources to pay off those whose monies have been locked up, it is a critical game changer,” he said.

Some customers of Gold Coast Fund Management, as well as GN Savings and Loans, have also embarked on several protests in order to access their monies.

Mr Osei Bonsu says PEF only wants a resolution to the financial crisis for people to get their monies to do their business.

He added that: “without these things, local Ghanaian businesses are losing their competitiveness. Mind you, it is an election year and it takes people to vote. Within the next thirty days, the BoG and Finance Ministry must make monies that are owed to these people available on the back of what the president promised.”

Source: citinewsroom.com

Opuni Trial: Court strikes out A-G’s affidavit on perjury motion

An Accra High Court hearing the trial of Dr Stephen Opuni, the former CEO of COCOBOD and Seidu Agongo, the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, has struck out Attorney-General’s affidavit in opposition against a motion of perjury filed by one of the accused.

Mr Samuel Cudjoe, the Counsel for Dr Opuni has cited Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, the third prosecution witness in the trial for perjury.

When the case was called on Thursday, Mr Cudjoe objected to the affidavit in opposition filed by the State for the respondent Dr Adu-Ampomah.

The witness, who is a former Deputy Chief Executive Officer at COCOBOD in Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control, had in his evidence-in-chief, in May 2019, told the court the procurement practice at COCOBOD for fertilizers had always been by open tender.

This, he said, was done through advertisement in the newspapers, where the product required was specified, and interested companies, whose products have been tested and certified by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, were required to support their bids with documents.

Whilst the trial was ongoing, Mr Cudjoe pointed out at least 18 contract documents which were sole-sourced at COCOBOD under the signature of Mr Adu-Ampomah.

The witness, however, stood his grounds and maintained that COCOBOD always engaged in a competitive tender and that sole sourcing can also be used to procure fertilizers at COCOBOD.

Mr Cudjoe in his objection said the State had no right to file an affidavit in opposition on behalf of the respondent and that it was unconstitutional and breaches the status quo.

He said the respondent should be made to engage his own lawyer to respond to the motion.

“We are objecting to the A-G representing the respondent in a quasi-criminal application such as the application for the perjury,” he said.

He said it was their submission that, the A-G representation or filing affidavit in opposition breaches Article 88 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

He said he was unaware of the respondent’s filing of an affidavit in opposition but rather sought to rely on the A-G’s own and that the A-G could not work against the republic.

Mrs Stella Ohene-Appiah, Principal State Attorney in her response said the A-G was representing as an interested party and not for the respondent.

She said they were duly served as an interested party and that has been indicated in paragraph three of the affidavit in opposition.

“It is our understanding that the respondent can align himself with our affidavit,” she added.

It was on these augments that Justice Clemence Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge struck out the affidavit in opposition filed by A-G on December 20, 2019.

He urged the respondent to consult a lawyer to file the necessary documents to respond to the perjury allegations.

Meanwhile, Nutifafa Nutsukpui, who held brief for Benson Nutsukpui, Counsel for Agongo, commenced a cross examination of Dr Adu-Ampomah.

Mr Nutsukpui asked the witness, whether it was his evidence that in 2014 COCOBOD procured 700, 000 litres of liquid Lithovit fertilizer from Agricult Ghana Limited and he answered in the affirmative.

“Is it your case that in 2015, COCOBOD bought one million litres of the same product from Agricult Ghana Limited,” he asked and the witness again answered in the affirmative.

The court adjourned the trial to January 21 and the hearing of the perjury to January 28.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretenses, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and acting in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have pleaded not guilty and have been granted a GH¢300,000.00 each self-recognisance bail by the Court.
GNA

Source: ghananewsagency.org

SIGA to publish performance of CEO of state-owned enterprises

The State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA) will publish a performance League Table of individual Chief Executives Officers of State-Owned Enterprises and the entities by July, 2020.

Stephen Asamoah Boateng, the Director General of SIGA, who announced this, said the move was to ensure effective and efficient management of the enterprises.

He urged the CEOs to get the basics right, be innovative and entrepreneurial, especially how they inter-trade and the support each other.

Mr Boateng was addressing the 2020 Performance Contract Signing Ceremony for 80 Specific State-Owned Enterprises in Accra.

The event was on the theme: “Transforming State Entities to Contribute Significantly Towards ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’”.

The contracts were signed between the Board of Directors and Management of Specific State-Owned Enterprises on one part, the Government, represented by SIGA and the respective Sector Ministries on the other side, in fulfilment of a statutory provision under the Regulations (196) of the Public Financial Management Act (L.I 2378).

The contracts focused on enhancing service delivery and efficiency of 19 different sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, agriculture, housing, trade, energy, aviation, roads, education, science, labour relations and transportation.

SIGA was established in June 2019 with the passage of the SIGA Act 2019 (Act 990); after the repeal of the State Enterprises Commission and the Divestiture Implementation Acts.

He said SIGA would set off at building data on all Specific State-Owned Enterprises and carry out vigorous monitoring of every entity that was signing the Contract.

“When SIGA staff call on you by any mode of contact, it is important your response rate is SMART and there are penalties for non-responsiveness and missing set targets and deadlines but we do not want any of you getting into this area,” he added.

The Director-General said the SIGA law had given the Authority real teeth to bite and it would not shirk its responsibility to sanction.

“SIGA will work with you to come up with the Code of Corporate Governance and Conduct. This must be completed quickly to enable SIGA ensure higher standard of corporate practices across board,” Mr Boateng said.

He said with the enactment of the SIGA law, the Performance Contracts been signed had serious implications for all, indicating that they had departed from the Commission era, where non-compliance did not mean anything.

“This time there are heavy penalties ranging from refusal to grant bonuses and financial charges,” he said.

He said there would also be a recommendation to appointing authority to remove Management and Board of Directors and prosecution leading to court fines and jail terms.

He said many of the entities were saddled with huge legacy debts, which was hindering their smooth operations, while quite a number were not able to honour their statutory obligations causing all sorts of unpleasant public discourse and headline news.

He said a sizeable number have also lost business focus and have indulged in activities, which were not their core operations while others have jettisoned good corporate governance practices leading to avoidable challenges and decisions as well as Boardroom wrangling, some of which were in the public domain.

He called on the entities to concentrate on the future, which needed everyone’s utmost cooperation, to realise the President’s Vision through a focus on creativity, investments in human resource and modern business technology to deliver on their core mandate for which they were established.

“Avoid any hint of wrongdoing or scandals and, thirdly consciously promote local businessmen and businesswomen,” he added.

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Greater Accra is the most expensive region in Ghana, Ashanti among the cheapest

An analysis of the Ghana Statistical Service’s data on inflation for 2019 shows that Greater Accra was the most expensive region for consumers over the past 12 months.

The country’s statistical agency which collects data on the changes in prices of food and non-food items on Wednesday, released its December 2019 data which showed that inflation in Greater Accra stood at 12 percent, while the overall national average was 7.9 percent.

Beyond the general movement of prices in December last year, a simple calculation of the average changes in prices of goods and services over the past 12 months indicated that the Greater Accra region’s 10.3 percent was the highest in all the traditional ten regions measured.

Greater Accra was followed by the Upper West Region — ranked as the poorest region according to the Ghana Poverty Mapping Report, which came in with an average of 10.1 percent.

The Ashanti region, which is home to the country’s second-largest city, Kumasi, came in at eighth position with average inflation of 7.6 percent, making it among the least expensive regions for consumers.

In the December 2019 consumer price index released on Wednesday, the Ashanti Region’s 5 percent average price movement of goods and services was the lowest in the country further cementing the region’s tag as one of the least expensive.

Source: www.citibusinessnews.com

Police arrest over 100 Menzgold customers who stormed NAM1’s residence at Trasacco

The Greater Accra Regional Police Command has arrested over 100 customers of Menzgold who stormed the house of the company’s Chief Executive Nana Appiah Mensah, NAM1.

The Head of Operations at the Accra Regional Police Command, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kwesi Ofori, briefing the media said the customers did not inform the police of the exercise.

Explaining reasons for the arrest, he said, “……this group of persons did not inform the police that they will be embarking on a demonstration today, no information to the police and we all know that we leave in a democratic country with rules, regulations and laws, we have the Public Order Act and looking at the law it mandates every citizen to inform the police with any intention to demonstrate…….and looking at this environment it is an estate meant for several people and for the customers to invade premises and assaulting the security detail of the estate and having forced entry into the place to carry such an illegal exercise that has something to do with the police..”

The arrested customers who are from Takwa, Accra and Kumasi are being sent to the Police Headquarters.

Background

Some aggrieved customers of gold dealership firm, Menzgold this morning stormed the house of the Chief Executive of the company, Nana Appiah Mensah, NAM1.

The customers forced their way into the trasacco estate of NAM1 in demand of their locked up investments.

The customers were initially prevented from entering the premises but managed to overpower the security personnel manning the gate.

“Until he pays me I will never leave here, today if NAM1 do not pay me unless he pays and if he pays i will leave here.”

Another aggrieved customer speaking to Citi FM said, ” I’m going to spend the 365 days here until I get my money I will spend all the days here, I’m not going to leave here.”

Source: primenewsghana.com

Banking reforms responsible for 17.1 percent rise in banks’ deposits – BoG report

It is emerging that Ghanaians are renewing their confidence in the banking sector following the clean up carried out by the Bank of Ghana over the past two years.

This is evident in the deposits recorded by commercial banks for the period ending October 2019.

According to the regulator, deposits, which is a major source of funding for banks grew by 17.1 percent for the period under review, albeit marginally lower than the 20.7 percent recorded in the preceding year.

Total deposits for that matter increased by 11.51 billion cedis; from 67.38 billion cedis to 78.9 billion cedis in October 2019.

Also, domestic deposits grew at the same pace as total deposits to 78.5 billion cedis in October 2019 from 67.04 billion cedis in October 2018.

On the other hand, deposits of non-residents, that is, those sections of the population other than persons residing in Ghana, remained small at 397.7 million cedis; though it increased from 342.1 million cedis in the year before.

The central bank believes its resolve to crack the whip and ensure that operators complied with regulatory requirements, led to the improvement recorded for the period.

The regulator’s action which spanned two years between August 2017 and August 2019, saw the revocation of licenses of nine indigenous banks.

There were some reforms to regulations guiding the operation of banks subsequently.

These included; Corporate Governance directives, Fit and Proper Guidelines in selecting members of Board of Directors as well as management or executives of commercial banks.

Source: www.citibusinessnews.com