Ghana’s Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and Mr Keli Gadzekpo, a board member of the Bank of Ghana since 2017, have, through their solicitors Acquah-Sampson & Associates, denied a claim by the CEO of the erstwhile Capital Bank, which is currently in liquidation, Mr William Ato Essien, that the two co-founders of Databank, in 2016, expressed interest in buying the now-defunct bank.
Mr Essien told Paul Adom-Otchere recently on Accra-based Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme that: “If the bank [were] that bad, would the current Finance Minister and the Board Chairman of Enterprise, Keli Gadzekpo, come to my office to say: ‘We are interested to buy Capital Bank?’ Ken Ofori-Atta came to my office in 2016 to make that proposal”.
Capital Bank was one of the local banks that went under during the recapitalisation exercise undertaken by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
In their statement, however, Mr Ofori-Atta and Mr Gadzekpo’s solicitors said: “The claim by Mr William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable investment bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous”.
“Our clients reject and condemn the defamatory remarks and suggestions purporting to link our clients in a negative way with the banking sector clean-up process that was decided, implemented, led and managed by the Bank of Ghana”, the lawyers said in the statement reproduced in full below:
Accra, Monday, 30 September 2019
FALSE AND MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MESSRS KELI GADZEKPO AND KEN OFORI-ATTA BY MR. WILLIAM ATO ESSIEN, FOUNDER OF CAPITAL BANK (IN OFFICIAL LIQUIDATION)
On Thursday, September 26, Mr William Ato Essien, the founder of Capital Bank (In Official Liquidation) appeared on Good Evening Ghana, a television interview programme on Metro TV, hosted by Mr Paul Adom-Otchere.
During the said interview, Mr William Ato Essien made inter alia, unsubstantiated and unchallenged claims, including a complete and palpable falsehood directed at Messrs Keli Gadzekpo (a board member of the Bank of Ghana since 2017) and Ken Ofori-Atta (the Finance Minister since 2017) (“our Clients”)
We have our clients’ instructions to respond to the said unsubstantiated claims and falsehood perpetrated by the said Mr William Ato Essien against our clients as follows:
- We wish to place on record that neither Mr Keli Gadzekpo nor Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta communicated to Mr William Ato Essien an intention to acquire Capital Bank in 2016 as claimed by Mr William Ato Essien. The claim by Mr William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable investment bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous.
- In any event, it may be worth stressing that an expression of interest, prior to examining the books of a bank, cannot be stretched to mean or even imply an endorsement or confirmation that Capital Bank at that material time had a clean bill of health.
- Our clients reject and condemn the defamatory remarks and suggestions purporting to link our clients in a negative way with the banking sector clean-up process that was decided, implemented, led and managed by the Bank of Ghana.
- The role of the Ministry of Finance in the entire exercise was/is, primarily, focused on how to: (a) provide financial assistance within the country’s limited fiscal space to protect the funds of depositors; and (b) build stronger, healthier and internationally competitive Ghanaian-owned Banks.
- It must also be underlined that the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, was/is not responsible for the events and/or decisions that led to the unfortunate collapse of any Bank in Ghana. His responsibility as Finance Minister was/is to manage the national economy and, more particularly the impact of such a major crisis – which commenced prior to the appointment of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister.
- Mr William Ato Essien’s sensationalist attack on Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta is false, unnecessary and diversionary.
Acquah-Sampson & Associates
Solicitors for Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta