‘Reverse Sale Of Merchant Bank’

merchant bankAn anti-corruption group, the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, has warned the Central Bank to reverse the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Private Equity Fund Limited, or face a court injunction.

According to the group, the sale of the bank  to Fortiz Private Equity Fund Limited was a violation of the Banking Act, 2007(Act 738) which states that the Central Bank should not grant license unless it was  satisfied with the technical knowledge, experience, financial conditions and the history of the applicant.

The Bank of Ghana, last month approved the bid of the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, a wholly owned Ghanaian venture company, to acquire 90 per cent stake of the bank for $90 million dollars.

This has not gone well with some interest groups, following a bid by Rand of South Africa to acquire 75 per cent stake of the bank for $91 million, from its majority shareholder, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)

Addressing  a press conference  in Accra on Monday, the executive director of the centre, Mr Andrew Awuni,  noted that although the Central Bank, authorised  the sale of  the Bank  to Private Equity Fund, it  was yet to carry  out due  diligence on Fortiz Equity Fund Limited.

“We at the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy are well acquitted with the reason for the indecent haste of approval to Fortiz. Because First Rand Bank was made to travel a journey of three solid years, how did Fortiz managed to do this in two and half months” he questioned.

Describing the bid as more of a dash than sale, Mr Awuni expressed his dissatisfaction on how the Central Bank could reject the offer from Rand South Africa to recover all the Gh¢175 million debt owed the bank.

“I find it very difficult to understand why Fortiz who decided to pay 30 per cent of the debt must be given the approval, when Rand  South Africa had offered to pay all the cost associated with the recovery,” he lamented

Mr Awuni noted that the centre is waiting for the government respond, following a petition served the government, or else would seek for a court  injunction.

“We are waiting for a response from the Presidency, following a petition and if nothing good comes out, as citizens of this country we shall go for a court  injunction on the sale of Merchant Bank because the whole process is weak,”  he noted.  By Bernard Benghan                            

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