An Accra High Court has declared as illegal Bank of Ghana’s rejection of Nigeria’s Yomi Akapo as the Chief Executive of Atlantic Merchant Bank.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) rejected Atlantic Merchant Bank’s selection of Yomi Akapo as its CEO because he was implicated in the recent illegal foreign exchange transaction when he was working with Access Bank Ghana.
The court, presided over by Justice Uuter Paul Derry ruled that the penalties imposed on Akapo by the BoG had no lawful basis. It is not clear whether the BoG would by all means approve Mr. Akapo as the CEO of the bank.
In rejecting Akapo’s appointment, the Central Bank had cited serious violations of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006, when he was the immediate past managing director of defunct Intercontinental Bank Ghana, explaining that a special investigation conducted into foreign exchange operations at his bank unearthed serious violations of the Act.
Referring to the letter of March 3, 2009 in which BoG communicated the foreign exchange act violations to the applicant Akapo, the judge noted that the letter specifically mentioned that the applicant violated the Act, pointing out that “in any case, there is nothing in the letter to show that the said penalties were imposed on the applicant and the bank pursuant to the penalty provisions of Act 673.”
He said that the BoG arbitrarily and wrongfully imposed the said penalties under Act 723, not Act 673.
A Nigerian equity firm, Kaderi Nominees, recently bought 50 percent stake in Atlantic Merchant Bank. The 50 percent shares, hitherto held by Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), was acquired by Kaderi with the approval of BoG, making the Nigerians the lead owners and conferring on them the right to appoint, by which powers they selected Akapo as the bank’s CEO.
It would be recalled that in the wake of similar accusation in 2009, the Bank of Ghana dismissed Oluwole Ajomale, then managing director of the Amalgamated Bank Ghana Limited which was then owned 51 percent by Meeky Enterprises, owners of majority stake in now defunct Oceanic Bank Nigeria plc.
Mali’s Bank of Africa acquired 60 percent stake in Amalgamated Bank in 2011 following Meeky Enterprises’ exit earlier and subsequently renamed it Bank of Africa Ghana Limited.
Source: Daily Guide
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