Prime News Ghana

Banks directed to freeze PDS’ accounts

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

The Financial Intelligence Center in Ghana has written to all Rural Banks and Savings and Loans companies to immediately freeze all accounts belonging to Power Distribution Services (PDS).

According to the FIC, this is to ensure that law enforcement agencies conduct investigations into matters regarding breaches detected with the demand guarantee of the concession agreement of PDS.

The FIC in its letter said the financial institutions should, however, allow receipt of monies into the account but must restrict debits on the accounts.

“In accordance with Section 47 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008, (Act 749) as amended, you are directed to immediately freeze all accounts maintained by the Power Distribution Services (PDS) to enable a Law Enforcement Agency to conduct further investigations.”

“Owing to the peculiarity of the subject’s operations, we further direct that you allow credits and restrict debits on all the accounts,” a letter from FIC to the financial institutions said.

The letter further directed that Savings and Loans Companies and Rural Banks to provide an up-to-date financial statement for all accounts of PDS they maintain.

“Also, provide the Center with copies of the statement of account for the period March 1st 2019 to date on all accounts you maintain. Please note for strict compliance,” FIC added in the letter.

Suspension of concession deal

The government of Ghana on Tuesday suspended a concession agreement with PDS for distribution of power in Ghana with immediate effect following what it said was the discovery “of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees).”

The government later announced that it had launched a full-scale inquiry into the breaches and a committee made up of experts comprising insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance ministries and officials of the ECG and MIDA as well had 30 days to complete the probe.

According to the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the team is expected in Doha-Qatar as part of the inquiry.

Another team he said, will be sent to the US to continue engagement with the American government through its agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation on the development.