Friday, 30 July

Adongo writes: How Ofori-Atta and Gadzekpo shot themselves in the foot

Feature Article
Ofori-Atta and friend

Our elders say when you see a frog jumping in the day, know that something is chasing it. That is why a Monday, September 30 2019 letter by the lawyers of Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and his friend and business partner, Mr Keli Gadzekpo means more than the contents it purports to communicate.

In that letter, the lawyers sought to deny the claim by Mr William Ato Essien in a recent interview that Mr Ofori-Atta and Mr Gadzekpo approached him to buy Capital Bank Ltd in 2016.

Dear Messrs Ofori-Atta and Gadzekpo, after reading the second paragraph of the so-called denial, I struggled, without success, to see what you denied or tried to deny.

What was clear was that essentially, rather than deny the allegations as the letter sought to do, you actually confirmed the allegations.

For the benefit of doubt, what you did was to confirm that you expressed an interest in acquiring the bank even though you did not get to the stage where you could carry out due diligence on the bank and confirm its financial health. Hence your rejection of Mr Essien's argument that the bank was in good shape to have attracted your interest in buying it, cannot be tenable.

Based on the facts (and I mean facts that are supported by hard core facts), there is no denial that you actually approached Mr Essien together with Mr Gadzekpo in Mr Essien’s office to acquire the bank.

Mr Essien mentioned in the interview that he turned your expression of interest down and so you were obviously not allowed to proceed to examine their books. This is a fact which you have just confirmed through your lawyers. Of course, had Mr Essien agreed to your expression of interest, you would have proceeded to examine the books and you would have probably bought it or rejected it, depending on how you interpreted what you would have seen in the books.

With you as the Finance Minister and how you have conflicted yourself with Databank with impunity and Mr Gadzekpo on the board of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), one wonders how Capital Bank owned by you and Keli Gadzekpo would have been collapsed.

You do not need to parade "one million" lawyers to tell simple truths on your behalf. The greed is palpable and stinks in the atmosphere. No amount of lawyers will extricate you from the purposeful mess you and BoG have deliberately and tactfully created in the financial sector for Databank to pick up the spoils.

How can you look Ghanaians in the face and tell us that the collapse of the banks is all about BoG and that you, the Finance Minister, are not involved?

How can BoG wake up and take regulatory actions that require the Finance Minister to spend GHS20 billion of taxpayers' money without the involvement of that Finance Minister and a legal opinion from the Attorney General?

Are you aware that;

•             Such matters have legal implications that could actually lead to huge judgment debts.

•             Financial encumbrance is a function of the Minister of Finance?

Like I have said before, the chaos in the financial sector is a strategy by you and your kind to profit from confusion and recent documents available to me endorse that even further.

For the benefit of this discussion, I will limit it to your unsuccessful attempt to extricate yourself from your earlier plan to buy First Capital Plus and later Capital Bank (now in receivership).

Since Messrs Ofori-Atta and Gadzekpo appear to have forgotten about the details of their dealings with Mr Ato Essien and his bank, let me remind you of one; just one of such dealings.

On May 12, 2015, Enterprise Group, which you two own and is currently managed by Mr Gadzekpo, wrote a letter to Capital Bank, expressing interest to invest in the bank, which Mr Ofori-Atta would later collapse.  Instructively, that letter was signed by no other person than Mr Gadzekpo, one of the persons purporting to be denying any attempt to buy or invest in the bank.

Now, how both of you still mustered the indecent courage to instruct your lawyers to churn out lies to deceive Ghanaians tells of such decay of your integrity deficit.

It is telling that these are the persons entrusted with our finances and/or sitting on the board of sensitive agencies such as the Bank of Ghana and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

With this stinking revelation, I can now wrap my head around the mess involving Power Distribution Company (PDS), given your connections to the entire transaction.

I am glad that victims of your vicious strategy to profit from chaos are coming out, with Mr Essien and Captain Kofi Amoabeng (rtd), being the latest to confirm these with revelations that have also forced you to admit same in your attempt to deny.

As discerning as Ghanaians are, they are able to read in between the lines and reach conclusions that will aid them to help reverse the total collapse of the financial sector.

Thanks to you hiding under the guise of a financial sector cleanup, the country has lost its indigenous holding in the financial intermediation space.

The least we can do as citizens is to help protect what remains.

And to think that you are employing lawyers to deceive us further is the greatest of disservices we can ever expect from you again.