November 22, 2013

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Bosomtwi, Simon Osei Mensah, says Ghanaians have been “shortchanged” in the controversial sale of Merchant Bank to private equity Fund Company, Fortiz.

According to him, the proposal by Fortiz was the least among those who applied to take over Merchant Bank.

The sale of the Bank has hit the rocks again as the Minority in Parliament has raised red flag demanding the immediate abrogation of the transaction.

They claim the Bank of Ghana approved Fortiz bid to acquire 90 percent stake without the necessary due diligence.

As the sale has become a subject matter of a court action, officials of the central bank and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), remain tight-lipped on the matter.

Commenting on the issue on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Friday, Simon Osei Mensah said the entire transaction reeks of corruption.

He described as unfortunate the rejection of the proposal by First Rand, which was prepared to invest 176.4 million Ghana cedis for 75 percent but rather SSNIT accepted that of FORTIZ, which will only invest 90 million Ghana cedis in Merchant Bank.

Bosomtwi MP, who is an economist and banker by profession, maintained that the transaction is not value for money but an attempt by government to gift out Merchant Bank to a company without “experience or expertise” in banking.

Mr. Osei Mensah blamed Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of the president and owner of Engineers and Planners for the collapse of Merchant Bank.

He alleged that Ibrahim Mahama, who heads a performing company, has “deliberately failed to pay back the loan” he took from the bank due to his connection in government.

The NPP MP called on the Bank of Ghana to as a matter of urgency, offer cogent answers to the begging questions about the sale.

Simon Osei Mensah pointed out that as a SSNIT contributor and a legislator, “I have a personal interest and hence must protect the interest of citizens”.