The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has declined Parliament’s request for it to respond to some petitions brought before the House in relation to the collapse of UT Bank and unibank.
In a letter to Parliament, from Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah, the BoG said the petitions brought before Parliament were wrongly placed and as such would not respond or participate in any investigations being carried out by Parliament.
The Speaker of Parliament, on March 22, 2021, directed that a seven-member parliamentary committee is set up to consider a petition by the former Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Mr Kofi Amoabeng, and the founder of uniBank Ghana Limited, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, 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.
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 on March 21.
After their first meeting, the committee asked the Bank of Ghana to submit its response to the issues raised in both petitions.
The BoG has, however, written back to the committee that it would not respond to the petitions.
The BoG in its letter indicated that Section 123 (1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit Taking Institutions Act (BSDTI) authorises the central bank to revoke the licence of a bank when it determines that the relevant bank is insolvent or is likely to be insolvent within 60 days after the date of the determination.
“Section 141 regulates how persons who are aggrieved by the BoG’s exercise of its power to revoke licences may seek redress. The prescribed grievance resolution mechanism does not include recourse to Parliament. Accordingly, we respectfully submit that the petitions have been wrongly placed before Parliament,” it stated.
Bank of Ghana Act
The central bank also noted that Section 1 of the Bank of Ghana Act provides that the BoG shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority in the performance of its constitutional and statutory functions.
“The BoG’s exercise of its statutory powers under the BSDTI Act, including its power to revoke banking licences, are in furtherance of its mandate to ensure an effective and efficient banking and credit system in Ghana and to maintain financial stability by preserving public confidence in the banking system.
“Since the petitions invite Parliament to investigate the conduct of the BoG in the performance of its statutory duties and request Parliament to direct the BoG to re-issue licences to UT Bank and Unibank, any attempt by Parliament to go into the petitions are an attempt to instruct the BoG on how to perform its functions, contrary to the unequivocal terms of the Bank of Ghana Act,” it explained.
The BoG also pointed out that the crux of the petitions was that following the revocation of the relevant licences, the BoG had contravened the fundamental human right provisions of the Constitution, including the rules of administrative justice under Article 23.
“The Constitution vests the power to investigate and determine such complaints exclusively in the judiciary. Thus, even if the petitioners are entitled to go outside the dispute resolution mechanisms stated under BSDTI Act, the only arm of government with jurisdiction to entertain the petitions is the judiciary,” the BoG letter states.
Per the petition, the two personalities are appealing to Parliament to investigate the conduct of the BoG in the revocation of the licences of their banks in 2018.
They claim that the central bank revoked the licences 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 licences 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 licence of the bank.
He also wants Parliament to give other directives that Parliament may deem appropriate, according to the petition.