BoG was ordered to kill Heritage Bank on political grounds - Amoabeng

The Bank of Ghana was told by officialdom to collapse Seidu Agongo’s Heritage Bank Limited, the founder and CEO of the now-defunct UT Bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, has said.

Prince Kofi Amoabeng

Mr Amoabeng, whose bank was also collapsed in the first term of the Akufo-Addo government, told Nana Otu Darko on CTV’s morning show, Dwabre Mu, on Tuesday, 4 October 2022: “I was pained by the collapse of Heritage Bank because it was young”.

The Bank of Ghana had issued a licence to Heritage Bank and Heritage Bank had not operated for long and, so, unlike UT Bank, it had no bad loans or anything and it was a wholly-owned Ghanaian company that we had to nurture to grow”, he explained.

“Secondly, the owners of Heritage Bank found it fit to appoint a solid board”, he noted, adding: “I mean, the chairman was [Prof] Kwesi Botchwey. When it comes to finance in this country, he is the safest hands you can get; he’s seen it all”.

“As chairman, the board members run the bank, not the owner, so, I don’t know Seidu Agongo – as I told you, I haven’t met him before – but I know Kwesi Botchwey and I know his track record. So, if you have a bank that hasn’t got any baggage, it’s fresh and it’s got a board headed by Kwesi Botchwey, then it means its closure was a worse decision than UT Bank”, he further noted.

As for UT Bank, we owed and they could have bailed [us out] but decided not to bail; that’s an option. That is why I mention that Heritage Bank, for example, was collapsed out of sheer wickedness”, he added.

Mr Amoabeng observed that the “unfortunately thing is the Bank of Ghana is supposed to be independent but I don’t think they were independent with their decision on Heritage Bank because, if they were independent, why do you issue a licence and withdraw it”

When you were issuing the licence, didn’t you know the owners and the board?” he asked.

It means they were told to withdraw the licence”, he deducted.

And it’s not a fair way but it’s another dangerous path that Ghana has taken”, he regretted, noting: “Every institution has been politicised including even the army”.

“And that is why I am saying that for Heritage Bank, the institution that is supposed to be independent of the government, even though in principle, issues a licence and then withdraws that licence when the company hasn’t even done anything wrong”, Mr Amoabeng added.

Mr Amoabeng made similar comments a couple of years ago saying he found it “extremely odd” for the Bank of Ghana to have collapsed Heritage Bank Limited, which had no bad loans on its books and was being run by the “right people” within the industry.

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