There is chaos within the banking industry in Ghana. We have witnessed the roars of the central bank, especially through its very outspoken boss, Dr. Ernest Addison in what many term as measures aimed at “streamlining our banking sector and making it more compliant with regulations”.
Any attempt to make entities bounded by laws to be compliant with those laws cannot be opposed by any patriotic citizen. It is, however, problematic if the issues are spinned to conceal and misrepresent facts and ultimately cast a slur on the reputation of individuals who we should rather be celebrating for their contribution to the same industry under scrutiny.
The Bank of Ghana through its spokespersons have in some instances not presented us with the full facts and insight for our own analysis especially in the case of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and his purported role with uniBank.
For example, we are told by the Regulator, that in the case of uniBank, there were instances where owners or shareholders appropriated depositors’ funds in acquiring properties in their individual names, among others.
A better engagement with the facts as it is will reveal that this is outrightly inaccurate and misleading.
What is factual is that, all assets acquired by uniBank in the line of its banking operations, were decided by the Board and Management of uniBank and these assets are lodged in the name of uniBank and nothing else. These assets are registered in the name of corporate shareholders and not in the name of any individual whether as a director or a shareholder. A careful search for instance at the Lands Commission reveals no truth further than this. For emphasis, none of those assets is registered in the individual name of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.
UNIBANK AND THE NARRATIVE OF DR. DUFFUOR
uniBank Ghana Ltd. was established in 2001. In 2003, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor became a shareholder of uniBank and by continuous capital investment, he became the majority shareholder of the bank in subsequent years.
Suffice it to say, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor’s success in commerce did not begin with the invention of uniBank.
In 1985, thus, 16 clear years before uniBank was birthed, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor established ‘Star Assurance Company Limited’, with now lots of remarkable achievements in the insurance industry to its credit. Dr. Duffuor owned a fishing vessel and boat as at 1986 and subsequently entered into commercial farming in the late nineties.
In February 2009, the distinguished Professor of Law, the Late President John Evans Atta Mills, called on the good hands of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor to manage the economy and finances of this nation.
For the records, before Dr. Duffuor took this role as Finance Minister of Ghana, he did appoint a trust to manage his investment interest in uniBank while relinquishing his role as the Chairman of the Board.
Contrary to what normally happens with political appointments where patronage is the decider, it was clear that for Dr. Duffuor, it was his academic and professional achievements as an economist, banker and finance expert that did the lobbying for him for the late President to entrust him with the mandate of delivering economic buoyancy and to make Ghana a stellar for the sub region.
Till today, there arguably has not been a Ghanaian Finance Minister worth the qualification of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.
Perhaps, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor’s competent hands find its best expression in the recorded feat of the economy supervised by him between the years of 2009 and 2012. Not only did we consolidate our economic gains and become the fastest growing economy in the world, we also saw a conscious attempt to run the longest single-digit inflation target. The 14.2 GDP growth rate is the highest ever recorded in our Republic since Dr. Nkrumah declared nationhood in 1957.
These are facts that stand to Dr. Duffuor’s name as his achievements. It will be a tall and unreadable tale if we are to recount his days as the Governor of the Central Bank and his personal role in erecting the foundations of the very Banking industry which certain persons who have no regard for facts, seek to accuse him of contributing to its downfall.
It is worthy to note that just like many entrepreneurial ventures, uniBank through Dr. Duffuor’s investment has yielded positive fruits for labour.
At the last check, uniBank had employed over 2000 contract and direct staff. This list excludes other workers who have had a stint with the bank over its seventeen years life-span.
At a personal level, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor’s impeccable integrity and values as a Ghanaian, would not permit him to appropriate public funds for himself.
It is on record that the man declined his monthly salary and allowances, did not live in a State Bungalow, or used State Vehicles and even sacrificed ex-gratia due him when he served as the Minister of Finance for four years. It defies all logic to suggest that such a character would invest in an entity with the motive of appropriating people’s monies for himself.
To him, both political and entrepreneurial callings represent service to the nation and clearly he has not abandoned those virtues. There is a very scanty list of Ghanaian citizens who have demonstrated this gesture and sacrifices to the nation.
ARE THERE POLITICAL FORCES INVOLVED IN THIS?
There is another narrative by some observers of this whole “chess game” which seems to be gaining currency by the day as one sits to add up the stories in the scenarios.
Dr. Duffuor is a registered member of the NDC and he has greatly supported the Party in so many ways. The suggestion by a lot of observers therefore that, this is a cynical and cruel agenda being deployed by opposition political actors who consider him a threat to their survival and therefore must be oppressed and destroyed, will not be out of place. It can be a clear case of a new form of “witch hunting” prosecuted through the selective application of law and deliberate misinformation and not through the courts or by brute force as we know it to be.
If there is any political infrastructure planted to destroy the brand of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor with the view of his ‘political future’ in mind, then it is being done in the worst possible way; in a manner that is bound to come into conflict with truth and suffer the fate of all unjustifiable conspiracies; FAILURE.
It is important to quickly add that if certain individuals are liable for acts that violates the guidelines governing the banking sector, the regulator is encouraged to take the right measures to ensure those individuals take full responsibilities for their actions. That is the way to go. Rather what has been done so far with the BoG and affiliate government agencies and spokespersons at the forefront, is to crucify people in the media and mischievously rope in innocent persons.
It is possible to have a passionate conversation about the substance of the banking industry without discrediting and destroying the very persons whose initiatives have played a critical role in sustaining the financial sector.
The canker of demonizing the solid achievements of Ghanaian citizens without cause if not stopped, will discourage others, especially young people, on building on their initiatives.
Let us hold people accountable but let us not put the wrong people and the wrong reasons on trial in a state-sponsored attempt to destroy them.
By Ernest Andorful Nsiah | firstname.lastname@example.org