Kojo Addae Mensah (MD, Databank)
Without holding anyone who is culpable of any malfeasance in Ghana’s financial sector to account, the hope that the industry will become world-class will never be realised, Kojo Addae Mensah – Managing Director of Databank – has said.
“My frustration is that when people do wrong, what happens to them? The reasons why our financial services sector will not become world-class is that people just do anything anyhow and get away with it. The question is: how many white-collar people have ever been jailed like they do in the USA and other developed economies?”
Already, Isaac Adongo – the Member of Parliament for Bolga Central – has walked out of a parliamentary probe into the recent collapse of seven banks, suggesting there are attempts to shield certain persons who should be held accountable.
Isaac Adongo told journalists when he stormed out of the meeting room on Wednesday: “I just walked. Listen, this is a rubber-stamp process; they will deliver no value and I am not willing to be part of it.”
Speaking as a panellist on finance at the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF), Kojo Addae-Mensah said: “Until we start having accountability, our financial services sector is going nowhere. People must be jailed for doing wrong. If that starts happening, a lot will change. Until we start making people accountable for wrong-doing, this thing will go nowhere,” he said.
“Our financial industry sector will always go full circle if we continue like this. All these things have happened before, so why have we come back to it? There was a bank called Ghana Corporative Bank, Bank for Housing and Construction and others. People think that we don’t have the structures or we don’t have the laws. Maybe, they are not enough; maybe they need to be revised.
“Has anybody been arrested from God is Love, DKM, Pyram, R5? The point is, there is no accountability. What shows that we will not come back to it again? We need some lessons. Today, Kweku Adoboli – a former investment manager and rogue trader who was convicted of illegally trading away US$2billion as a trader for Swiss investment bank UBS – is about to be deported…but would that have happened in Ghana? Would he have been jailed?” he asked.
Focus on making Ghana world-class
The panel, which was chaired and moderated by George Asante-Head of Trading (Ex SA) Absa Group, saw the panellists offer suggestions on how to make Ghana a world class financial services sector.
Mr. Addae-Mensah touched on the ease of doing business in the country, saying: “I acknowledge that quite a lot of work has gone on. For example, the registration of businesses has not been as tedious as it used to be, but there are still issues out there.
“Our legal framework makes it difficult, especially if you are into commercial banking and you lend money to somebody, to realise your collateral. The court system is so slow. By the time you are eventually realising your security, it is not even worth how much the value was,” he said.
Sampson Akligoh, Director of the Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance, explained that the ministry is taking steps to stimulate the market and make the financial services sector world-class. He added that the ministry is looking at launching a commodities exchange and mortgage exchange as soon as practicable.