A Banking Consultant and finance expert, Dr. Richmond Akwasi Atuahene, has berated comments by former Board Chair of now-defunct Capital Bank, Dr Mensa Otabil, for suggesting that he cannot be blamed for the collapse of the bank.
An investigative report commissioned by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has indicated that Dr Otabil and other top office holders of the indigenous bank did not use a GH¢610 million liquidity support provided by the central bank for the intended purposes although an emergency Board and Executive Committee meeting was held on October 13, 2015 over its use.
The now collapsed bank was struggling at the time.
However, Capital Bank eventually did not use the bailout funds for the bank’s business. Instead, the management, with the approval of the Board Chair, used the bailout money for other things, leading to the eventual collapse of the Capital Bank in August 2017.
Active criticism, especially on social media, that followed the revelations in the Bank of Ghana report, compelled Dr Otabil, who is also Founder of the megachurch, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), to break his silence on the matter.
“My position was a non-executive role. I was therefore not involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the Bank,” he said in a release on Tuesday.
He also said among other things that, “In the course of time, some of the decisions made turned out well while some did not turn out as well as had been anticipated. As far as I can tell, everything was done with the best of intentions and the interest of various stakeholders in mind”.
But Dr. Atuahene says a Board Chairman is responsible for everything that happens in the bank and cannot claim innocence of activities at the bank because “the cooperate governance regulations do not say that, and it would have been better if [Dr Otabil] had kept quiet.”
Dr Atuahene suggests had the renowned preacher not spoken, the matter could have died naturally.
“But his comment may rather irritate people,” he said.
Meanwhile, a legal practitioner and Financial Services Consultant, Kofi Bentil, has lauded Dr. Otabil for his response to the criticisms.
He said Dr Otabil’s readiness to avail himself to authorities for investigation was apt.
He also noted, however, that although Dr. Otabil may not have been involved in the day-to-day running of the affairs of the now-defunct bank, as Board Chairman, he is equally responsible for the bank’s collapse.
“Board Chairman and members have a responsibility in a company when something happens and Rev. Otabil has a responsibility yet it is true that they are not directly involved in the daily running of the company,” Mr. Bentil stated.
Mr Bentil is also Vice President of IMANI Africa, has nonetheless blamed the BoG for the weak supervision that led to the failure of the bank.
“We need to seriously question the role of BoG in this whole thing because they supervised the failure of all the banks involved,” he added.
The managers of the banks according to Mr. Bentil, their Board, as well as Chairmen, must all be questioned.