The running mate of the New Patriotic Party, Dr. Mahmudu Bawumia is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into a transaction where an amount of $250 million was transferred from the Bank of Ghana to a private bank UBA.
Dr. Bawumia is also calling for the resignation of the Finance Minister Seth Tekper adding that the transfer of the country’s Foreign Exchange to a private bank is in violation of the Bank of Ghana Acts (Act 612) Section 53 that states: “The Bank shall hold all foreign exchange of the State and be responsible to Parliament in the performance of its function in relation to the foreign exchange.”
Though Mr. Tekper admitted to the transaction but insisted that the money has been invested in the interest of the country.
He said Dr. Bawumia’s statement is “factually wrong, technically deficient and gives a wrong impression to both the Ghanaian public as well as to our international investors and development partners,” adding that the funds from the Eurobond are intact and have been invested in the name of the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).
The Finance Minister further pointed out that plans are far advanced to invest funds lying idle in order to earn some capital for the country indicating that “If Ghana is to move on, I am saying that the money which is sitting in the commercial bank is for you and for me as taxpayers and I don’t think it is prudent for me to allow that money to be sitting there for a bank – whether government bank or private bank – to invest and earn interest at our expense whereas we can place the money at a minimum call or invest in known government securities when the funds are not being utilized.”
But Dr. Bawumia has expressed shock at the Finance Minister’s pronouncements that the fund was lying “idle.” He asked? “Why do you borrow funds and pay interest on it if you do not have use for them at the moment? It is clear that the GIIF does not have a portfolio of projects ready to invest in and it is weird to allocate a whopping sum of $250 million to them at this time.
“Is the Minister aware that the country owes N-Gas some $100 million? What about other contractors who are owed money by the government? How can you owe so much, have so much to do and yet claim to have “idle” borrowed funds?”
A statement released and signed by Dr. Bawumia concluded that “the placement of the $250 million by the Minister of Finance is a violation of the law as well as imprudent financial management.
The Ministry of Finance along with the Bank of Ghana are supposed to enforce the Bank of Ghana Act and not to be party to breaking it.
“Under the current IMF program there is supposed to be a new Bank of Ghana Act. It will not be worth much if the existing one is being violated with impunity by the very sponsors of the new Act. What would private sector players make of this?”
It also stated that “In light of the confirmation of this transaction from the Ministry of Finance, I believe that:
• There should be a parliamentary inquiry
• The transaction should be reversed”
By Martin Asiedu-Dartey|3news.com|Ghana