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Ayariga allegations are baseless, says source at Ministry of Finance

Mahama Ayariga on the anti-LGBTQI bill and Bawku clashes

Mahama Ayariga

The government has debunked all allegations levelled against it by the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, in a petition to the Bank of Bank.

A credible source at the Ministry of Finance says the government has absolutely no intention to offload shares of ADB and Prudential Banks to certain individuals under the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (GAT).

Ayariga, in a petition to the Bank of Ghana (BoG), alleged that GAT is planning to sell off shares in purchased banks to private individuals and is asking the central bank to respond in five days or face legal action.

“Nothing to hide”

But Asaase Radio’s source at the Finance Ministry said there is nothing to hide and that the claims in the petition by Ayariga are false. The government is open to any investigations into the matter, the source said.

“I can tell you for a fact that this is a very big lie and distortion of fact. The truth is that what we have seen is that the government paid GHC800 million into GAT. Today, as we speak, the value of that amount has increased to about GHC900 million.”

“What GAT has actually done is to work with these banks to strengthen their corporate governance and to rather become better banks.

“These are banks that were not being run properly and individuals were getting control over them and not allowing the institutions to run,” the source said.

“Resisting change”

“So it’s the reverse, and I’m surprised that the MP [Mahama Ayariga] is distorting the facts and making it look like somebody is rather twisting things …

“What I can say with authority is that the banks are rather resisting the change; the change that is necessary to make the local banks stronger and be able to compete more effectively. So, I think it is important to put on record that nobody is interfering in these banks. GAT is not political …”

The source said the structure of GAT was that it will raise funds from the public and, in return, the government will give a sovereign backing, “because nobody wanted to give them [the banks] money. So Parliament approved a sovereign guarantee for GAT to issue preference shares to these institutions.

“The ongoing transaction is happening at GAT level; it is happening with the banks. The investment that GAT has done in the banks is still safe and these are governed by shareholder agreements with the banks … Under the shareholder agreement, GAT cannot sell those shares unless it gives the first offer of refusal to the existing local shareholders, and if they are not able to purchase then GAT will look for secondary means, including listing on the exchange.

“So it cannot be true that you have a situation where the Minister for Finance would be accused of getting individuals to buy. If he [Ayariga] cares to know, the IPO is a public offer. If it’s a private offer, then you can accuse people of hiding something …”

The MP for Bawku Central has petitioned the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to look into attempts by the Minister for Finance, acting through his agents at the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (GAT) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell the state’s shares in rescued banks to suspicious third parties.

Ayariga said information gathered shows that GAT has submitted a prospectus to the SEC for approval to enable it to sell off its shares in these banks to certain private individuals whose identity merits investigation.

The Ghana Amalgamated Trust was established by an act of Parliament to help financially resource a small group of local banks to enable them to meet the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks at the onset of Ghana’s banking sector clean-up.

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