The host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, says the governor of the central bank, Dr Ernest Addison, is causing the banking regulator to lose respect in the eyes of the public following the murky issues that has hit the banking sector in his administration.
For him, it is imperative for the BoG Chief to “sit up” and stop the contradictions which are largely tainting the office he holds.
Criticising the Governor on his show on Tuesday, 8 January 2019, Mr Adom-Otchere said: “People are unnerved because of the conduct of the central bank, and the conduct of the governor of the central bank in regularly addressing press conferences in which there is contradiction after contradiction after contradiction”.
His comments follow the revocation of the licence of Heritage Bank, whose Board of Directors was chaired by Ghana’s longest-served Finance Minister, Prof Kwesi Botchwey. Also, the licence of Premium Bank was revoked by the central bank, as part of its clean-up exercise of the banking sector.
Among other things, the central bank said the source of Heritage Bank’s capital for its establishment was suspicious, adding that the majority shareholder, Seidu Agongo, failed the “fit and proper person” test and so could not own a bank, since he was involved in criminal prosecution as far as the GHS271 million Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) fertiliser scandal was concerned.
The ex-board of Heritage Bank, however, issued a statement describing the regulator’s allegations as “complete falsehoods” and “inaccuracies”.
Read highlights of Paul Adom Otchere’s Perspective
“The central bank has still not told us, for instance, that those banks that have not met the minimum capitalisation requirement, like those banks who are going to benefit from the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (GAT); what is their status as of 1 January 2019? Are they still class one banking licence holders? He held an entire press conference and did not address a matter that sticks out so clearly like this. … You just leave that whole lacuna there. What should we do with it? We should guess it? You see, the central bank is in serious trouble. And this banking reform thing is creating a worse problem for the people at the central bank.
“When you read some of the things Dr Botchwey said, it will shock you. And if Dr Botchwey is right, and because of his stature, I’d like to believe him, then it is shocking the way the central bank behaves.
“The governor of the bank of Ghana holds a press conference, the governor who holds a sacrosanct position that when he speaks nobody should speak. He speaks more than the Finance Minister, he speaks as if he’s an MP, every day he’s doing a press conference, he’s the only governor in the history of Ghana, who has done a press conference and he’s not talking about monetary policy.
“Dr Addison is the only governor in the whole world who runs press conferences like … Have you ever heard any governor anywhere doing a press conference? Dr Addison holds press conferences just like that and at every press conference, he doesn’t impress. He contradicts himself.
“Dr Kwesi Botchwey is virtually telling the governor in the press [statement] that you’re lying. That’s what he’s saying. Why should we subject our central bank governor, the one who holds the entire authority of the central bank to these kinds of things? I hope that somebody is not manipulating him. Sorry to use that word, but this central bank governor must sit up and be a central bank governor. Take up the badge and the chair and the suit of distinction to be a central bank governor. We’ve seen them; Agama, Amon Nii Koi, Kwabena Duffour. We’ve seen them. Why, central bank governor? Dr Kwesi Botchwey says you are lying. And Dr Kwesi Botchwey was for 13 years the Finance Minister … and you have made allegations against him as board chairman of Heritage Bank and he says that you are lying. … They are telling you, Dr Addison, that you are dishonest. I’m sorry, this is what Kwesi Botchwey is saying”, Mr Adom-Otchere said.