Nov. 12, 2018 (GIN) – Depositors may want to steer clear of banking in Ghana while over a dozen bank officers and shareholders face claims they lent themselves millions of dollars but failed to repay.
Business Ghana, a local news outlet, reported that 13 shareholders and directors of the defunct Capital Bank Ghana Limited and UT Bank engaged in acts that led to the collapse of the two banks.
By their alleged actions, the defendants “have breached their fiduciary duties under the Companies Code and have caused serious financial loss to the banks,” say receivers for the defunct banks.
The officers allegedly lent themselves about $837 million Ghanaian cedis – equal to $174 million U.S. dollars.
Auditors with the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm confirmed that actions by the bank officers destabilized Capital Bank which was declared bankrupt earlier last year. That led to the collapse of five other indigenous banks that were merged into one in August 2018.
Capitol Bank founder William Ato Essien allegedly flouted “all banking and risk management rules by treating depositors’ funds and public funds as his personal cash,” the auditors said. Briefly detained by the Economic and Organized Crimes Office, he was granted bail and invited to assist with ongoing investigations.
All this has occurred despite a campaign pledge by President Nana Akufo-Addo to be the anti-corruption candidate.
An investigation by Business Insider, published this month, found that a half dozen appointees of the president were accused of serious corruption, from bribery to extortion, selling contaminated fuel , visa fraud, and posing as journalists to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After an inquiry, all the accused were fully exonerated by ad-hoc committees of Parliament.
Meanwhile, a Special Prosecutor to investigate corruption complains that a year after his office was established, it is confined to a small house “woefully inadequate” to accommodate employees.
And in Italy, some 200 Ghanaian students say they are stranded without food, are homeless and possibly facing deportation because necessary documents for their scholarships have not been validated by the Embassy.
Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Giovanni Favilli, however, charged the students with abusing Italy’s hospitality and threatened them with prosecution. The claims were dismissed by the President of Ghanaian Students in Italy who disputed the accuracy of the charges.