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Make Probing of Banks Public — Group Petitions Speaker

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Two private citizens have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, to allow for a public hearing of the legislature’s probe into the banking sector crisis.

The two, Nana Adofo Ofori and Anthony Mifetoo, argue that the decision by the finance committee to hold the hearing in-camera is counterproductive and not in the interest of the public.

Five local banks, namely Unibank, Royal Bank, Biege, Construction and Sovereign Banks, were recently collapsed to form the Consolidated Bank Ghana.

Parliament subsequently announced an in-camera probe into the circumstances that led to the collapse.

One of the petitioners, Nana Adofo Ofori however told Citi News holding such a hearing out of the public’s eye will serve no better purpose.

“This is a situation that is already out there. People have misconceptions so why not have a public hearing so we know the details of what went on? This will also boost our confidence in the system. If there is an in-camera discussion, no one can be held for what is said there because if you come out to say person A said this and then he comes out to say I did not say this… It is your word against his word which will take us nowhere. But if it is an open hearing we all get to know exactly what happened and we hold people accountable for what they do. By close of day we expect to hear from the office of the Speaker. If we do not hear from them by close of day we will follow the necessary processes to move to another level.”

Seven banks have collapsed in Ghana within the last year with the central bank giving varied reasons for such crisis.

According to the Bank of Ghana whereas some of the banks had liquidity challenges, others obtained their banking licenses through dubious means.

Some of the collapse banks allegedly squandered millions of cedis given them by the BoG to help them resuscitate.

Some Ghanaians have however called sanctions for persons behind the collapse of the banks because government has issued about GH¢8 billion in bonds to defray the debt left behind at the expense of the taxpayer.

Parliament has subsequently served notice of holding a three-day closed-door session to quiz the central bank on the banking crisis.

A Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson said the session will not be open to the public due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that considering what we call the sensitivity of the matter, parliament committee of Finance will meet in-camera to look at this matter. It is important for the people appearing before the committee to be at ease and to give us the needed answers,” Mr. Ato Forson said.

Source: Citifmonline

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