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Ofori-Atta wanted to buy Capital Bank in 2016 – CEO

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The founder of the now-defunct Capital Bank, Mr William Ato Essien, has said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta proposed to buy Capital Bank in 2016.

He told Paul Adom-Otchere in a yet-to-be-aired edition of Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV: “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,” he told Adom-Otchere.

Mr Essien also dismissed claims that the Board Chair of the bank, Dr Mensa Otabil lacked the requisite knowledge to lead the Board and direct the affairs of the bank.

Capital Bank was one of the local banks that went under during the recapitalisation exercise undertaken by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

Meanwhile the founder and CEO of the now-defunct UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng has revealed that Nana Akufo-Addo took a loan from UT in 2003.

Ken Ofori-Atta, who is now the Finance Minister under Akufo-Addo’s presidency, also took a loan to save his business, Mr Amoabeng noted.

“In actual fact, our President, today’s President, when he was in opposition in his own party in around 2003, he came to UT of all places, local company, because of course the banks wouldn’t give him the money and we gave him a loan and he admits that”, he told Paa Kwesi Asare on Accra-based TV3’s Business Focus.

“The Minister of Finance, the same thing; his own company would have gone down … and I sat and said this is a local company and we helped them out, Mr Amoabeng said as he spoke about the revocation of the licence of UT Bank two years ago.

On August 2017, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison told the media that the decision to revoke the licences of UT Bank and Capital Bank at the time was taken to protect customers and the banking system.

“UT Bank and Capital Bank were heavily deficient in capital and liquidity and their continuous operation would jeopardise not only their depositors’ funds but also pose a threat to the banking system,” Dr Addison said.
“It has, therefore, become necessary for us to revoke their banking licences and approve this transaction to allow GCB, the large bank with the right balance sheet to take over all the deposits and selected assets of the two banks,” he said.

Responding to Mr Amoabeng’s revelation, a cousin to the President, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, wrote on social media: “Yes, so Nana Akufo-Addo took a loan from Unique Trust decades ago, which was fully paid back by 2000 (not 2003); so what? After all, what are lenders for? Banks are there to lend and borrowers agree to pay back even if interest rates are prohibitive”.

The founder of think tank Danquah Institute added: “But, I’m struggling to make heads or tails out of this story. Did Prince Amoabeng say he gave a loan to Nana Akufo-Addo for Nana’s political campaign and is he also saying he does not fund political parties? As a person or as UT? I don’t understand.

“Is he saying if his financial institution advanced credit to Nana Akufo-Addo, which, by the way, was fully paid back under President Rawlings, then, for this reason, his bank should have been spared when it became manifestly insolvent under President Akufo-Addo? I doubt that is what he is saying. He wouldn’t.
“I think his story is rather a good one for money and politics. That there are politicians who will take decisions in the national interest first and not be primarily influenced necessarily by who funded their campaign if that.

“Prince Amoabeng is one person we have all admired for what he achieved as a businessman. Discipline was his motto, as we saw it from afar. In fact, I featured him on my talk show, Gabby’s Airtime on TV3 in 2003 to tell his great story. Yes, at one time, I also took a loan from UT for my talk show. But, it wasn’t for free! He took a personal asset of mine as collateral because the Talk Show had no such asset.

He would not have waived it if I had defaulted beyond redemption. That’s why I am wondering what the point of this disclosure that he once funded Nana Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta is all about”

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