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Quayson Writes : Unfair Withdrawal Of Heritage Bank License – A Terrible Political Precedence

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Some few days ago we were greeted with the news of BoG withdrawing the license of one of the fastest growing banks in the country – Heritage Bank. I consider this news indeed very shocking and the basis given for the withdrawal of the license very flimsy indeed.

How can you say that businessman Alhaji Seidu Agongo is not “fit and proper” to own a bank for the mere reason of having a pending case in court which involves him, the former CEO of COCOBOD, Dr. Opuni and the state with the charge of causing financial loss to the state to a contract transaction worth around $217 million?

Does the governor of BoG have the slightest idea of businessmen in this country that have cases in court but are still running credible businesses in this land? I consider this to be pure witch-hunt, envy and jealousy towards the businessman Alhaji Seidu Agongo for the success he has chocked in the world of business in Ghana.

Does it mean because he is facing criminal charges in court his other successful businesses apart from Heritage Bank too are not credible and that he is not” fit and proper” to run those businesses as well?

In the same country for one same man, he is fit and proper to run other businesses of his but cannot run his bank which is also another line of his business? What sense does this make and are our leaders clever at all? Should we rather not commend and encourage this wise businessman who has thought it wise to set up his own bank to serve his other line of businesses and other outside customers as well?

Why are we trying to kill the enterpreneurial spirit of strong, determined and dynamic youth in this country in the name of politics without regards or ricourse to National development?

I want the government of Ghana to state which businessman or bank in Ghana here that does not have a court case pending or has not been to court over one issue or the other. Why are we trying to destroy people’s businesses in the name of cleaning the banking sector?

Kennedy Agyapong has not allowed the name of this astute businessman to rest for once accusing him of being affiliated to the family of ex-president Mahama and that he is an NDC man etc. I heard him on TV one day claiming that businessman Seidu Agongo established Heritage Bank with the money he made from COCOBOD contracts for the supply of fertilizer. He even said that the former first lady of the Mahama family also has shares in Heritage Bank.

Why will a businessman like yourself Mr. Kennedy Agyapong spread evil rumours about Alhaji Seidu Agongo so much so that your own NPP government in power now has taken up the issue to disqualify the man from owning the bank? This is not fair at all and the law of karma will catch up with the MP for Assin North.

But for sure it is not only Kennedy Agyapong that has stirred up the government to disqualify this honourable businessman but there are more people behind the scene that out of jealousy and envy have masterminded the disqualification of this great man.

Kennedy Agyapong, did your wife also not recently win a contract from the government to supply street lights to the tune of Ghs100 million? Why do you and the rest spread bad and evil rumours about this wonderful businessman?

This man has conducted himself so well in this country and has employed so many people in his businesses. Alot of lives depends on him and he is given to so many charitable works but because he is a well grounded and quite businessman he hardly makes noise about his charitable works and achievements unlike the rest.

This is a man that has built a ward for sick children in Korle-Bu Teaching hospital and is doing so many charitable works in this country which most greedy and selfish businessmen will never do today, they would rather steal government money and be parading wayward girls in town spending huge on them.

This is a man that feeds millions and given schorlarships to many students, has fed so many children and alliviated many from poverty. This is a man that has affected the Zongo community massively with his charitable works and still continues till date. Why will anyone want to touch such a person and call him not “fit and proper” to own his own bank?

You hardly hear this man meddle in political issues, its never on record that his voice has been heard accusing or supporting any political party in this country yet many people are trying to forcefully affiliate him with one party or the other.

Many have only heard his name because his enemies would want to drag his name in the mud in the media but have never even seen his image before on TV or heard his voice on radio. This is such a harmless and very fit and proper man and anyone that has partaken in trying to destroy his business will not escape the judgement of God.

The court has not even decided the case yet and you claim he is not “fit and proper” to own his own bank. Who is fit and proper in this country? All the corruption going on in the state institutions all over Ghana involving government officials and people wearing party colours, do you see this man involved or his name mentioned in any of these things?

Why is this government trying so hard to bring down this great businessman yet almost all the juicy positions in this country has been given to the family and friends of the president – unprecedented nepotism going on in Ghana. With even that we don’t call all the nepotised acquaintances not fit and proper but someone doing his private business is regarded as “not fit and proper”.

Are we not hearing and seeing the high profile parties being organised by people close to the president, Garby Otchere, Executive Secretary to the president, the weddings etc and huge cash being spent, the Rolls Royce being bought, the foreign artists being booked for private performances and paid huge thousands of dollars etc.? We are not referring to these group of people as not fit and proper to be in government but somebody doing his own business and employing the youth is regarded as ” not fit and proper”.

How can an employer who is employing thousands, something the government is struggling to do be regarded as not fit and proper? Let us be fair with ourselves and judge properly and stop this witch-hunting and vindictiveness. How many people has the governor of BoG employed or those labelling him as not “fit and proper”?

So it means if you don’t belong to the NPP party or visibly displaying your support for the government you cannot embark on a genuine business in this land? This thing the government is doing is stifling the initiative of the Ghanaian youth to endearvour into business.

With all the foreign travels of the President he has not being able to attract a single foreign investor into this country yet you allow your machinery to collapse the businesses of indeginous businessmen in Ghana.

Volts Wagen (VW) wanted a presence in Africa already and established a plant in Rwanda and now coming to Ghana, it is not this government that attracted them here. They were already on their way here. The same can be said about Nissan coming to Ghana. All this government is good at doing is collapsing businesses and rendering families unemployed.

This government should just name one foreign investor it has been able to attract to Ghana yet you are killing the businesses of local businessmen who are striving to reach great heights with their businesses.

This man could have decided to use all his money he has made to do other businesses or invest it somewhere or even repatriate it outside the shores of Ghana but because he is a giver, he is making it available for the general public to even come and borrow from him and do business that in the long run benefit the country and improve the standard of living of the people in the country. This is absolutely not fair.

A university professor at the University of Cape Coast, Professor Gatsi, head of finance department has yesterday cautioned the government and BoG to beware of this bad prescedent and unfair treatment they are metting out to Alhaji Seidu Agongo and I could not agree with him the more because NPP is not always going to be in power.

What if the NDC too decides to withdraw the licences of businesses or banks known to be affiliated to NPP party in anyway when they come to power, where will we be going as a nation with this sort of attitude.

This is not an issue of not meeting minimum capital requirement but an issue of the major shareholder not being fit and proper. According the news report I read, Dr. Ernest Addison claims Heritage Bank was not able to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31st December, 2018 as well so they had to withdraw the license and allow Ghana Consolidated Bank to take over its operations.

He is also said that they don’t need the court outcome to determine if a person is fit and proper to run a bank. The mere fact that he is facing criminal charges in court disqualifies him. He also said that the identity of some shareholders were unknown and suspicious so they had to withdraw the bank’s license.

Honestly the above reasons provided are so flimsy and so unfair to withdraw the license of anybody in Ghana. Now about the minimum capital requirement, Heritage Bank is barely two years old and should have at least be given some grace period to meet that requirement even if that is the case.

With the way NPP government has made the economy to be filled with so much hardship, where do you immediately expect a businessman to raise additional capital within a short period of time when it has invested heavily into assets and infrastructure for his bank? Let’s apply the use of sense and lets stop victimising innocent people any how.

Has any case of money laundering being established against Alhaji Seidu Agongo in any way? No. He made his money right here in this country from doing genuine business something that some of the elders in this country have failed to do. We cannot stand as a country and see young people getting rich and affluent in society we will find fault and bring them down right now.

Telling Ghanaians that you don’t need court verdict to determine his capacity to own a bank is very wrong. Can you use your internal regulations as a regulator to over ride the decision of any court in Ghana? Supposing after the hearing he is acquitted and discharged of all charges would you still find him not fit and proper? You people are very wicked indeed.

The day I heard the president mention his name during the farmer’s day speech, I knew in my heart that you people will pull a move like this. The law court must come and interpret to us that if a case is before court, a regulator can just use its internal instruments to declare a person not fit and proper? The same measure you mete out to others shall be measured back to you one day.

Do you need to sight every shareholder in the company before you give license to operate a business? So if the bank has thousand shareholders, BoG must know everybody there before they give the license to operate? What about those who gave the license from the same BoG for him to do business? You have carried the outside politics into a state institution to discredit your own institution. This indeed proves beyond reasonable doubt that BoG is not a credible state institution itself and the management and board is not fit and proper themselves.

BoG must remove the mote in their eyes first so they can see clearly in order to remove the beam out of the eye of Heritage Bank. Nothing in this world last forever not even position or power so let us becareful of how we abuse the powers and the positions we get in this country, because today it may be someone else but tomorrow it could be you or some one close to you or related to you that their life’s work and sweat is being flushed down the drain.

A word to a wise is enough, today it is not you or your relative so you don’t care about destroying somebody’s business but tomorrow it may turn against you so let us beware of all the blind witch-hunt and vindictiveness we are practicing in this country. Whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap. Yooo!