Ghana’s finance minister hits back at Ato Essien over Capital Bank’s collapse

Lawyers for Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Keli Gadzekpo, a Bank of Ghana board member, have denied allegations that they wanted to acquire Capital Bank before it was shut down.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Capital Bank and UT bank were the first to have their licences revoked by the Bank of Ghana when it started the banking reforms. The two banks were taken over by GCB Bank on August 2017 in a purchase and assumption transaction.

GCB took over the good assets of the two banks while the Bank of Ghana appointed a receiver to ensure the realization of other assets to pay debtors among others.

Speaking for the first time after the shutdown, the founder of Capital Bank, William Ato Essien said the Ken Ofori-Atta and Keli Gadzekpo expressed interest in acquiring the bank.

He said this to clarify that the bank was profitable and performing hence it should not have been closed down.

But the counsel for the two, Acquah-Sampson & Associates, in a press release, stated that neither Mr. Gadzekpo nor Mr. Ofori-Atta communicated to Mr. Essien an intention to acquire Capital Bank in 2016 as claimed by Mr. William Ato Essien.

“The claim by Mr. William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable Investment Bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous,” the release said.

Below is the full statement issued by Acquah-Sampson & Associates.

FALSE AND MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MESSRS KELI GADZEKPO AND KEN OFORI-ATTA BY MR. WILLIAM ATO ESSIEN, FOUNDER OF CAPITAL BANK (IN OFFICIAL LIQUIDATION)

On Thursday, September 26, Mr. William Ato Essien, the founder of Capital Bank (In Official Liquidation) appeared on Good Evening Ghana, a television interview programme on Metro TV, hosted by Mr Paul Adom Otchere.

During the said interview, Mr. William Ato Essien made inter alia, unsubstantiated and unchallenged claims, including a complete and palpable falsehood directed at Messrs Keli Gadzekpo (a board member of the Bank of Ghana since 2017) and Ken Ofori-Atta (the Finance Minister since 2017)(“our Clients”)

We have our Clients instructions to respond to the said unsubstantiated claims and falsehood perpetrated by the said Mr. William Ato Essien against our Clients as follows:

We wish to place on record that neither Mr. Keli Gadzekpo nor Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta communicated to Mr. William Ato Essien an intention to acquire Capital Bank in 2016 as claimed by Mr. William Ato Essien. The claim by Mr. William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable Investment Bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous.

In any event, it may be worth stressing that an expression of interest, prior to examining the books of a Bank, cannot be stretched to mean or even imply an endorsement or confirmation that Capital Bank at that material time had a clean bill of health.

Our Clients reject and condemn the defamatory remarks and suggestions purporting to link our Clients in a negative way with the Banking sector clean up process that was decided, implemented, led and managed by the Bank of Ghana.

The role of the Ministry of Finance in the entire exercise was/is, primarily, focused on how to: (a) provide financial assistance within the country’s limited fiscal space to protect the funds of depositors; and (b) build stronger, healthier and internationally competitive Ghanaian-owned Banks.

It must also be underlined that the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, was/is not responsible for the events and/or decisions that led to the unfortunate collapse of any Bank in Ghana. His responsibility as Finance Minister was/is to manage the national economy and, more particularly the impact of such a major crisis – which commenced prior to the appointment of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister.

William Ato Essien’s sensationalist attack on Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta is false, unnecessary and diversionary.

 …Signed…

Acquah-Sampson & Associates

Solicitors for Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta

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