The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) is insisting that the now defunct Heritage Bank, was unfairly targeted and ultimately collapsed during the banking sector clean-up exercise by the Akufo-Addo government, acting through the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
In a statement issued by the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, suggested that the Heritage Bank was indeed, profitable and financially sound to operate.
It said, the government has "commissioned the lawless Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, to be going round spewing blatant falsehoods and hoping the ordinary Ghanaian, will not see through their lies and hopeless propaganda and hoping that the narrative would change in their favor".
ASEPA, added that the government needs the propaganda, "so badly as we gear towards the 2020 General Elections, because the over 5million victims of their cruel actions are impatiently waiting to punish them severely and there is nothing they can do about it".
"Before we delve into the details of the bank's establishment, its capitalization and status prior its cruel collapse, let's set the record straight by stating emphatically that of all the banks that were collapsed under the so called clean-up, only Heritage Bank was solvent amongst them," the statement said.
It said "The banking sector collapse has evidently become an albatross on this Government's neck and it is desperately looking for another neck to unleash this albatross that has become like a diabetic sore, doesn't seem to go away unto.
"It is also clear that the vile collapse of Heritage Bank Ghana Limited in 2019 and other Ghanaian owned financial institutions continues to haunt the perpetrators of this heinous crime and the lead architects have become so desperate that they will never miss any opportunity to cover their evil deeds in the eyes of the Ghanaian public".
"As usual they have commissioned the lawless Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, to be going round spewing blatant falsehoods and hoping the ordinary Ghanaian will not see through their lies and hopeless propaganda and hoping that the narrative would change in their favor( and they need that so badly as we gear towards the 2020 General Elections because the over 5million victims of their cruel actions are impatiently waiting to punish them severely and there is nothing they can do about it). If you will recall, on the 19th August,2020 the lawless MP in his signature way joined two other people to spew blatant lies and project collective ignorance about the circumstances which they claim led to the illegal and unfair withdrawal of Heritage Bank's license on 4th January, 2019".
"Perhaps it is needless to say that Ken Agyapong's recent outbursts is a well-staged attempt to white-wash the evil deeds of a partisan Governor of the Bank of Ghana ,a cruel Minister of Finance and a treacherous President who presided what is the single most cruel act of destruction any Government has ever perpetrated on its indigenous businessmen. Before anyone attempts to swallow the brazen lies of Ken Agyapong and his rented cohorts, here are few facts to be abreast with".
The ASEPA issued the statement, amid the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison, rejecting claims that depositors who had their monies locked up with the collapsed banks, have not been paid.
At a meeting with President Akufo-Addo, after the latter's working visit to the Central Bank on yesterday, Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Dr. Addison said all customers of the nine collapsed banks have been paid their locked-up funds.
It added; "In other words, the bank was profitable, liquid and financially sound. it was able to meet its withdrawal demands from customers and it continued to service its obligations in earnest. The bank was generally bubbly and on the path of becoming one of the most profitable indigenous banks only for the Bank of Ghana to cut its promising future short."
ASEPA further stated; "As a matter of fact the Bank of Ghana even admitted Heritage Bank's solvent nature in the statement that announced the revocation of the bank's license."
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Governor of the Central Bank, Ernest Addison, have all debunked earlier suggestions that it deliberately conspired to collapse some banks in the wake of the banking sector clean-up exercise undertaken in 2017.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, some managers and directors of the banks, were literally bankrupt yet were taking depositors funds and loaning them back for regeneration.
As part of its efforts to restore confidence in the banking and specialized deposit-taking sectors, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) embarked on a clean-up exercise in August 2017 to resolve insolvent financial institutions whose continued existence posed risks to the interest of depositors.
The clean-up saw the revocation of licenses of 9 universal banks, 347 micro-finance companies, 39 micro credit companies or money lenders, 15 savings and loans companies, 8 finance house companies, and two non-bank financial institutions.
The move by the Central Bank was a comprehensive assessment of the savings and loans and finance house sub-sectors carried out by the BoG in the last few years after it identified serious breaches.
At the meeting with meeting yesterday, the BOG boss explained"We had the [banking sector] reform in two phases. The first phase had to do with the banking system where we revoked the licenses of the banks. Depositors got their monies."
He, however, indicated that there were some outstanding payments to be made to customers of collapsed microfinance companies, savings and loans, and finance houses.
"The second phase of payment has to do with the SDIs – Savings and Loans and Microfinance Institutions and in their case, more than 95 percent of depositors have been paid so there is just about 5 percent of depositors who have not been paid."
Following the revocation of the licences of the 347 microfinance companies, 39 micro-credit institutions and 23 savings and loans companies, a validation of the affected customers commenced on November 18, 2019, with the aim of repayment.
Processes for the payment of valid claims of those who had their monies locked up in the defunct companies commenced on Monday, February 24, 2020, but some persons have complained of not receiving their funds.
There have been suggestions that the Central Bank should print money to pay up customers' locked up funds but Dr. Addission has dismissed this suggestion.
He argued that although the bank is committed to paying depositors' locked-up funds, printing money has not been part of its plans as it has the potential to undo all that the bank has achieved over the past couple of years.