President Akufo-Addo has revealed that a Special Investigations Team has been put in place to undertake criminal investigations into the failures of all seven banks for possible prosecutions by the relevant State agencies.
Addressing the media at an end of year press conference on Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, President Akufo-Addo assured that “no one found complicit will be spared.”
Additionally, the Bank of Ghana, he indicated, “is conducting its own internal investigations into the conduct of its officials (past and present) that could have facilitated wrong doing at these banks.”
Throwing light on the banking sector, the President noted that his administration inherited a financial system that was under a considerable state of distress, with banks that were known to be insolvent as far back as 2015, and banks that had been licensed without the requisite capital.
Some of these banks, he said, were surviving day to day only by virtue of liquidity support from the Bank of Ghana with the underlying problems that plagued them remaining unresolved.
“To protect depositors’ funds as well as to prevent contagion from these failed banks to the rest of the financial system, the new administration of the Bank of Ghana took some courageous measures in the public interest, to clean up the banking system and to put it on a stronger and more resilient path,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “There is no doubt that the failure of the seven banks came at a cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer and staff of the affected banks.”
As a result of the decisions taken by the Bank of Ghana and the financial support Government provided through the establishment and funding of Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited, the President noted that this has ensured that deposits of more than 1.5 million customers with deposit values of over GH¢10 billion and about 70 per cent of the 5,000 jobs in the affected banks were saved.
This, he explained, was important to alleviate the severe adverse outcomes that could have occurred.
“It is important that the costs of these interventions, which were borne by taxpayers, are recovered to the extent possible through recoveries from debtors, shareholders, and related and connected parties who took money from the defunct banks,” he said.
The President continued, “The receivership processes are ongoing, and the receivers are making great strides in their recovery efforts. Amounts in excess of GH¢400 million have so far been recovered by the Receivers of the 2 banks closed last year.”
At the same time, the recapitalisation efforts by banks have been very successful so far, with about 22 banks already meeting the new minimum capital of GH¢400 million well in advance of the 31st December deadline.
The 22 banks that have met the new requirement include a good number of indigenous banks, whilst a few others are in the final stages of meeting this requirement.
“I am confident that at the end of the exercise, we will have a stronger, more resilient banking sector with a strong indigenous presence, well-positioned to finance the next phase of our agenda of economic growth,” the President added.