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NIB MD managed bank from Canada via zoom for close to a year – Isaac Adongo

By primenewsghana
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Deputy Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Isaac Adongo, says the National Investment Bank (NIB) has not been given the kind of attention it deserves thus its current fiscal crisis.

The Bolga Central MP revealed that the Managing Director of the bank, Samuel Sarpong, had been managing the ailing bank via zoom for close to a year from Canada.

This he said was part of the poor corporate governance that had led to the current situation the bank was in.

“We haven’t given NIB the kind of attention that it deserves given that it has been in crisis… the Managing Director sat in Canada and zoom-managed NIB for almost a year. How can we be serious with that?

“A bank that requires arm holding, proper nurturing, the Managing Director sat in Canada for one year and what he was doing was zoom managing that bank. Even very good performing banks cannot be managed by zoom for one year so clearly there are issues,” he said on JoyFM’s Top Story.

The Minority in parliament has alleged that the government is colluding with the Bank of Ghana to merge the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and the NIB which they say could lead to about 800 job losses.

They are pushing against the merger, saying there are better viable solutions to solving the recapitalization problem of the two state banks than merging them.

Speaking on the merger, Mr. Adongo said such an action will in itself be unconstitutional without parliament’s approval.

“I want to tell you that the bank itself was not established by the Companies Act, it was established by a National Investment Bank Act 612, and that Act is very clear under Section 22 under liquidation proceedings that nobody can liquidate or take any action that will ultimately lead to the demise of NIB unless it comes back to parliament for parliament to pass a law giving direction as to how that process should be pursued.

“So, there’s clearly a legal mandate and that legal mandate rests with the people who set up NIB and it is the parliament of Ghana. So, we don’t expect anything other than a poor regulation action by the Central Bank under Act 930 either to bring it under administration, to revoke the license or to place it under receivership as provided because they have a license of the bank of Ghana.

“But it’s quite clear that’s not the action the Bank of Ghana wants to take, it is not the action the government is interested in, the only action left now is to come under Act 612 and particularly under Section 22 of the Act,” he explained.

The MP earlier alleged that the merger plan was merely a smokescreen to sell off the two banks after their merger to government cronies as part of state capture efforts.

"It is clear that this is not about the interest of NIB. This is the last step towards passing through the back door to acquire NIB and ABD for themselves in a state capture," he said.

The minority has vowed to push against the planned merger as they believe it would be detrimental to the nation.

A banking consultant, Dr Richmond Atuahene, also speaking on Top Story, condemned the proposed merger saying it was not the right call. He asked the government not to rush on the matter but take its time to conduct a diagnostic study of the two banks first.

“I don’t think merging NIB and ADB is solving any problem, it is not a solution at all,” he told Evans Mensah.

According to him, NIB has suffered from corporate government crises in addition to its current fiscal challenges noting that the buildup to the current point started in 2016.

He said ADB is also going through the same challenges based on a report published in 2022, and does not have the capacity to acquire NIB, adding that even if government refinances ADB, it may not be enough to take over NIB's debts.

He suggested that both banks be recapitalised, explaining that “you don’t bring a weak institution to buy a bad institution. You have what we call a good bank buying a bad bank, there is a theory there but the two of them are not good for anything.”