Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ordinary Ghanaians Are Fed Up With The Greed Of Corrupt Public Officials - Which Is Why President Mahama's Government Must Probe ADB Now

Reading news reports about the recent upheavals in the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), one could not help wondering why the bank's staff members - who have been agitating for the removal of the current managing director, and dissolution of the bank's board of directors - don't seize the opportunity offered by the proposed floatation of part of the ADB's shares on the stock market: and counter that proposal with a buyout proposal of their own (in partnership with sections of organised labour) to the government.

They could leverage their pensions for that purpose, could they not - if they are passionate and feel  so strongly about the ADB's well-being and future? Much better striving to own the bank themselves - and prospering  from the hard work they put in to securing  its future.

One  also wonders why the ADB's managing director, Mr. Stephen Kpordzih, is bent on asset-stripping the bank - if that particular accusation by the bank's staff members is true, that is. It appears that on all counts he fails the if-it-were-your-own-business-would-you-proceed-like-that test miserably.

If the managing director of any bank in the UK, sold its headquarters building for a piddling sum far below its real value, and then went on to give out valuable land belonging to the bank to a developer to put up a building on, for the sole purpose of renting it  out to that selfsame bank for a million pounds a month, to serve as its new head office building, he or she would be fired from the position of managing director, by the board of directors, and the case handed over to the police to investigate.

And prosecution would  follow swiftly if a case of negligence of fiduciary duty occassioned by conflict of interest was established against the said managing director - and if found guilty, jailed and barred from being a company director, for life.

Mr. Kpordzih must be prevailed upon by the government of President Mahama to tell the nation who the developer who was given the bank's land to build on and rent that same new building to the bank to serve as its head office is - and divulge the terms under which the land was given out.

It is also important to establish that Mr. Kpordzih did not benefit personally from that particular deal.

He must also be made to produce a list of all those who have bought properties belonging to the ADB since he assumed office as managing director - and precisely how  much  they each paid for those properties: and where exactly they are located.

That list must include the name of the Ghanaian company to which the headquarters building of the ADB along the Independence Avenue was 'sold', but which apparently failed to pay for the building - for which reason the sale will now no longer go ahead. Apparently.

Hopefully, the aforementioned property deals were all ethical transactions, and devoid of any conflict of interest undertones. If the management of public-sector entities are going to sell state assets entrusted to them, at least let them get the actual market values, for such asset disposals.

Incidentally, the ADB must also publish the names of all individuals and entities on its unrecoverable assets list - and find a reputable specialist debt recovery company to collect those oustanding debts owed it by those it provided loans to in the past.

It must take a leaf from the book of the UT Bank, in that regard. Aggression is the name of the game where recovering money from defaulters is concerned. If it has to take a haircut in paying a loan recovery company to collect money owed it, that is far better than letting debtors get away with not paying back loans.

It is outrageous that the management of state-owned  companies in Ghana can engage in asset-stripping  - and have the gall to dispose off valuable assets of the companies they have been entrusted with by government: which no private-sector entity would ever contemplate selling off if they owned them.

The government must stop the management of state-owned  entities from renting luxury office and residential accommodation for the companies they run - and ban them from paying out the Ghana cedi equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars as rent advance to private landlords.

 In the most egregious cases, politically well-connected landlords have been known to simply use the rent advance paid them by state-owned  entities, to quickly build and rent properties to those very same state-owned  entities paying them huge  sums, as rent advance.

Surely, paying rent advance for a non-existent building amounts to fraud, does it not? Does it not amount to providing  a private developer with a grant to put up a building - and then paying that same property developer astronomical sums as rent advance at regular intervals for years to come? Some, wheeze.

Ordinary Ghanaians are sick and tired of the greed of corrupt and selfish public officials that is impoverishing our homeland Ghana.

It is monstrous and intolerable that publicly-owned entities in Ghana that are financially challenged, provide compensation packages and perks to their senior management,  which enable them to live like Arabian oil sheiks - in a nation in which millions struggle daily to make ends meet.

Yet, today, even the genuine article in the Middle East now bows to austere times - occassioned by low global oil prices - and watch their spending carefully. In an era when even Arab oil Sheiks have become frugal, why tolerate reckless spending, by state-owned  entities?

This is not a matter for mediation between parties by a government minister. If the government of President Mahama does not want to have yet another major scandal on its hands, it must put Mr. Stephen Kpordzih's stewardship of the ADB, thus far, under the microscope.

And if the government wants any probe into the affairs of the ADB, under Mr. Kpordzih's leadership to be credible, he must be made to step aside. Now. Not tomorrow.

If he is a wolf in sheep's clothing, using the ADB as a vehicle to increase his own net worth, he must be exposed and prosecuted.

If he steps aside now, he can be reinstated if the charges against him are proven to be false. And he can then also  sue all  those whom it would have turned out have slandered him - if he so desires. Then it will be case closed for all involved in this shabby affair.

Ghanaians are indeed thoroughly fed up with the unparalleled greed of selfish and corrupt public officials, and their crooked private-sector collaborators - who gang up to rip-off Mother Ghana. President Mahama's government must probe the ADB, now.

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