President John Dramani Mahama has urged authorities of Merchant Bank to set up a taskforce to compel Engineers and Planners to defray their debt to the bank.
He also wants the former majority shareholder SSNIT and the Bank to join forces in retrieving every penny owed the bank, whether by his brother’s company or any other firm.
“I have let the Bank do what it wants, I think SSNIT is an autonomous entity, it must take its own decisions and so I have nothing to do with it, I think if you owe a bank you must pay and so E & P must pay their debt to Merchant bank as everybody else who owes merchant bank and I want to urge Merchant bank and SSNIT to put in a taskforce to retrieve their debt because if we continue to run our banks like this, where are we going to get credit to give to the business community”.
"The reason why credit is expensive in Ghana is because of bad debt…if you owe a bank, pay…. Let SSNIT and Merchant Bank take steps to recover their monies”.
President Mahama gave the order during a public forum with senior journalists at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday, January 7, 2013.
He admonished Engineers and Planners, a company, belonging to his brother, Ibrahim Mahama to pay up its debt to the Bank as a matter of principle.
Addressing the issue further, President Mahama denied any inducement by him to intervene in the Merchant Bank deal with his brother's company.
According to him, his attention was only drawn to the fact that "Merchant Bank was in trouble and that Merchant Bank could collapse because of the debts that were owed to us. And so, as President and Vice President, the President called a meeting which I attended to discuss the distress in which Merchant Bank was.”
And so, disclosed that he had in no time acted on his executive power to influence Merchant Bank.
“I sat in that meeting and I must say out of that meeting, no intervention was made to direct Merchant Bank to do anything. I can say that confidently; no intervention was made. At no time had I used executive power to try and influence Merchant Bank to do anything. After all, I became President in July. I could have influence SSNIT. I could have dismissed the Merchant Bank Board. I could have done things using executive power. I didn’t do that and so, I have not played any role that has conflict of interest…Engineers and Planners must pay their debt to Merchant as everybody else who owes Merchant Bank.”
It could be recalled that Engineers and Planners was reported to have secured a whopping amount of money as loan from the bank, hence leading the bank to be bankrupt due to its inability to refund the loan.
Several critics and political figures lashed out at the President for allowing his brother to seek such loan which placed Merchant Bank at the verge of collapse.
President John Mahama also clarified that he has “no interest in Engineers and Planners"
"...i don’t own a single share in Engineers and Planners,” he said.
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