Merchant Bank Was Gift To Fortiz’

The Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) has accused the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) of packaging Merchant Bank Limited as a gift for Fortiz Private Equity Fund Limited. Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of the centre, Mr Andrew Awuni, said the BoG was yet to carry out due diligence on Fortiz and also ascertain the appropriateness of Fortiz’s role in the transaction from another key regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He said SSNIT, in an earlier statement confirming the position of the BoG, had acknowledged that due diligence was yet to be conducted on Fortiz and that the Financial Intelligence Centre had been contracted to carry out the due diligence on the company. “The question then is, if we are yet to conduct due diligence on Fortiz, then on what basis did the BoG grant its approval?” He queried. Mr Awuni wondered if the BoG was breaching its own laws and guidelines, adding, “Clearly, the BoG did not carry out the necessary due diligence as stipulated in Section 5C of the Banking Act, 2007 (Act 738).” He said what his outfit and, indeed, Ghana was asking for “is value for money. What we are saying is that with the present arrangement, it appears we are virtually giving away Merchant Bank to Fortiz”. The CFA has been at the forefront in the fight against the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, describing it as a bad deal, and urged Ghanaians to join the centre to reject the purported attempt by SSNIT to virtually give away the bank to Fortiz. Mr Awuni told journalists that his outfit intercepted the proceedings of a meeting of the board of Merchant Bank on the share purchase and subscription agreement, during which the members expressed their disappointment at the way the sale had been done. He said four members of the board had so far resigned based on their principles, and he saluted them for refusing to be part of this “manipulation”.