As public outrage grows in the UK, over the astonishing revelation that banks there had been rigging interest rates (by manipulating the London interbank offered rate - LIBOR -) and also engaged in the mis-selling of interest-rate hedging products, one hopes that officials of Ghana's Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Bank of Ghana, will act quickly to find out whether state-owned entities, such as the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), which are exposed to UK banks, have perchance fallen victim to the unethical practices of the UK banking sector's culture of greed.
Compensation ought to be demanded if that were the case. For its role in the scandal, last week, Barclays was fined a total of £290 million by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic - and other banks in the UK involved in the scandal, are also expected to pay heavy fines.
In all probability, TOR and Cocobod might very well have been charged too much for their overseas loans contracted in the UK - in the case of the Cocobod, as much as some US$200 millions (in fees and sundry charges - if I remember correctly) for the nearly US$2billion syndicated loan it arranged last year. And only heaven knows how much TOR is forking out for the total of US$940 millions or thereabouts it is also borrowing this year from overseas banks, including British ones.
At a time when ordinary Ghanaians are becoming more and more conscious of the shenanigans gotten up to, by the powerful rogues amongst our educated urban elites, and now demand probity and accountability from those who rule Ghana, perhaps the question we should ask is: Are the Tema Oil Refinery and other Ghanaian state-owned entities, possible victims of UK banking industry sharp practice?
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