Economist at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Lord Mensah, says he hopes the 10 million grant awarded to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) helps the institution unravel what happened with the monies injected into the banking sector cleanup.
According to him, though it has become public knowledge how much the government had invested into the banking sector cleanup, there has been little to nothing to show for all that money.
He noted that an investigation into the banking sector cleanup would have been opportune, however, despite the delay, taking into consideration the monies that were invested and the challenges that have befallen the country as a result, an investigation now is welcome.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Prof. Mensah said, “When you hear the news coming up, all that you hear is that we spent this amount, we spent 21billion cleaning the banking sector. Now having spent this amount, what did you gain from it?
“And looking at the 10 million that is being extended to EOCO, I ask myself, so all this while what were we waiting for to extend the 10 million facilities to an entity that is going to help us unravel what went on in that space? So it is too late to hear that announcement from my end, but it’s better to be late than never.”
He added that “So effectively, yes, 10 million is gone, it’s money that we’ve spent, but unfortunately for us, we normally hear monies that are spent to rescue situations, we normally hear monies that are spent to unravel something that is supposed to be a criminal case, but at the end of the day, we don’t get anything out of it.
“So I’m hoping that this 10 million that has been injected to EOCO, we should be able to get something out of it, and then whatever the state is going to lose as a result of this cleanup, from the investigations they’ll do we should be able to get something out of it.”
His comment follows the Bank of Ghana’s approval for the disbursement of a GH¢10 million grant to the EOCO to help strengthen the operations and investigations of the office.
The money will be disbursed in two tranches.
The first tranche of GH¢5 million is to be disbursed immediately to augment EOCO’s operations, especially with regard to investigations into the financial clean-up reforms.
Governor of BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison said the chunk of the money would be used to investigate cases related to the financial sector clean-up exercise that started in 2017 and ended in 2020, during which eight banks, 23 savings and loans companies, and more than 400 specialized deposit-taking institutions (SDIs) were collapsed.
He said the exercise brought to the fore the critical role of EOCO in uncovering financial crimes and ensuring that perpetrators were brought to book, hence the need for the grant.