Civil society organization, Occupy Ghana, has raised objections to the decision by the Finance Committee of Parliament to hold an in camera probe into the collapse of some seven banks whose licenses were revoked by the Bank of Ghana for insolvency.
The Bank of Ghana in August 2017 approved a Purchase and Assumption transaction allowing GCB Bank Ltd to take over all deposits and selected assets of UT Bank Ltd and Capital Bank Ltd.
A year later, the Bank of Ghana again established the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited to take over the assets of five banks: Beige Bank, Construction Bank, The Royal Bank, Sovereign Bank and UniBank, said to have been plunged into a liquidity crunch.
The collapse of the banks has generated a lot of talk in the public space, intensified by some leaked documents from the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) which implicated some directors and institutions.
Parliament took a keen interest in the matter and decided to investigate the circumstances that led to the situation.
The sitting, as announced will be held in camera beginning September 5 and is expected to probe the reports of the auditing firms that led to the collapse of the banks, as well as the Bank of Ghana.
But Occupy Ghana is of the opinion that the matter is of public interest and does not deserve to be held in camera.
“It is our considered view that holding such an important inquiry in camera will not assuage the public hunger for truth in respect of the matters raised in the reports of Messrs KPMG and Boulders which are now in the public domain” a statement from the group reads.
Occupy Ghana proposes a public hearing which it believes will allay the suspicions of public that there could be a possible cover-up.
“In the interest of transparency, we urge the committee to hold its hearings open to the public. We, as members of the public whose taxes funded the bailout monies, would want to be reassured that there has been no cover-up in the inquiry because of the personalities involved in the instances of malpractice identified in the reports.
“Any sitting in camera will breathe life into and give teeth to rumours that there are personalities behind huge kickback payments who are also cronies of politicians and who may be shielded by an in camera proceedings.
“The public would also want to ensure that depositors are protected and that any loopholes that enabled this conduct to go on unchallenged would be addressed by the committee with a view to legislating to ensure the circumstances enabling malpractice are curbed so there is no repeat in future”, Occupy Ghana said.
Occupy Ghana hopes the investigations will among other things spell out measures that will to prevent further occurrences.