Merchant Bank Sale… Awuni Files Fresh Suit

Mr. AwuniThe Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Mr. Andrew Awuni, has filed a fresh suit at an Accra Commercial Court against the 13 institutions and persons at the centre of the sale of Merchant Bank.

Mr. Awuni is praying the commercial court to restrain the parties from consummating further transactions.

Meanwhile, he is expected to officially withdraw his writ challenging the sale of Merchant Bank to private equity fund, Fortiz, from the Fast Track High Court, on Thursday.

The defendants in the new writ include the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Fortiz, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), KPMG, all the board members of Merchant Bank as at the initial stage of the sale, and three other persons.

Counsel for Awuni, Mr. Hassan Tampuli of Faibille and Faibille disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.

Mr. Tampuli said the decision to withdraw the matter from the Fast Track High Court was based on technical issues and had nothing to do with the law firm’s inability to handle the case in court.

He was optimistic that his client could make a better case in the fresh suit at the commercial court.

Mr. Awuni, on November 15, filed a writ at the Fast Track High Court to revert the sale which he has described on several platforms as fraudulent and not showing value for money.

He, therefore, filed an interlocutory injunction on November 22 to halt further transactions on the sale pending the determination of the court but has now decided to fight the case at the Commercial Court.

The bank of Ghana (BoG) approved the deal for Fortiz Private Equities Fund, Ghana Limited, to pay GH¢90 million cedis for a 90 per cent stake in Merchant Bank.

The Bank said it had done nothing wrong in the approval of the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, because due diligence was done, as required by law before giving approval.

Dr. Kofi Wampah, Governor of the BoG told journalists at a news conference in Accra that BoG played its role effectively as regulator to ensure a clean deal.

SSNIT, which is at the centre of the deal and has 90 per cent stake in the bank, has also issued a statement which indicates that the sale was strategic and would boost returns on its investments.

It further stated that Fortiz was the best bidder and therefore won the bid, ahead of South Africa’s second largest bank, First-Rand Bank.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the directors of the firm said Fortiz had fulfilled all the necessary stipulated conditions required in the transactions.

The private equity firm, Fortiz maintained that its purchase of Merchant Bank was transparent and it is determined to turn round, the fortunes of the ailing bank.

However, the Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni has criticized the sale of the bank as a “bad deal”. By Charles Amankwa    


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