The Chief Executive Officer of defunct UT Bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, has said political considerations played some part in the collapse of his bank by the Akufo-Addo government.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) revoked the licences of Capital Bank and UT Bank in August 2017 for being illiquid and deficient in capital.
State-owned GCB Bank subsequently took over the two banks.
Subsequently, seven other local banks were collapsed, bringing the total to nine.
According to Mr Amoabeng, who is still challenging the collapse of UT Bank in court and also through parliament, while the bank enjoyed support from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government under President Nana Akufo-Addo, collapsed the “internationally admired” bank.
Mr Amoabeng, who said in an interview on Wednesday, 8 December 2021 that: “I don’t belong to any party”, pointed out that “the interesting thing is that depending on who is speaking, they push you to the other side”.
“Throughout the whole UT thing, depending on who is in power, I am [seen as being] on the other side,” he said.
At the time UT Bank was collapsed, Mr Amoabeng said it “wasn’t doing that well,” but “the way the government acted, some banks were helped, some banks were closed; that is what irritates me”.
“At UT, we created a Ghanaian brand which was respected internationally, so, to come to power to kill a local brand which is admired and used internationally….”
“You can bail it out, and that is common”, he said.
“Initially, that was what was happening, but that was the NDC time”, he pointed out.
“For me, not because of my personal interest, but I think for the country, we should have bailed it out,” he told Accra-based Citi TV.
This is not the first time Mr Amoabeng has expressed strong reservations against the collapse of his bank.
In February 2019, Mr Amoabeng said the government’s decision to collapse the bank was senseless because it had investors ready with proposals to support it.
“If UT Bank, we owed GHS800 million, and an investor comes, and he says: ‘I’m ready to pay half of that,’ which is GHSG400 million, and the Bank of Ghana writes off the 400 million and Bank of Ghana takes a decision to close UT Bank, which will cost the nation, at least, GHS2.2 billion, it doesn’t make sense to me because it’s easier to lose GHS400 million than to lose that much plus the collateral damages,” Mr Amoabeng said on the KSM Show.
Mr Amoabeng noted that the Bank of Ghana’s decision to withdraw the licence of UT Bank surprised him because “everybody knew I was very close to the Finance Minister, even to the president, to some extent. And I was an Akyem man and so on and so forth, but that wasn’t the criteria for taking a decision; the criteria should be what’s in the best interest of the country.
“The other thing that surprised me is that UT Bank was a listed company, which means it had about 15,000 shareholders who were just disenfranchised because of that action, and nothing has happened to them. Nobody listened to their story. Apart from the staff, it’s the shareholders, which included international companies, and UT is not like any of the banks that we’re talking about, but they put all of us in a basket, and they just bashed all of us.”
According to him, the closure of UT Bank has brought untold hardship to former employees, including death.
“Last week [within August 2019], I went to the funeral of one of my managers who died and obviously died because of the pressure and things like that. I even met a staff of mine, not with the bank though, but because of the things that happened, who is now selling tiger nuts on the roadside, and those things get to me,” he stated.