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Kwesi Pratt backs Minority’s call for probe into Merchant Bank sale

Kwesi Pratt
Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt has backed the Minority’s call for the abrogation of the sale of Merchant Bank to a wholly owned Ghanaian company, Fortiz.
He said the issues raised by the Minority in Parliament about the sale must be investigated to prove there is value for money.

Under the multi-million dollar deal Fortiz, a private equity fund business offered 90 million dollars for 90 per cent shares after the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), majority shareholder of Merchant Bank rejected 91 million dollars for 75 percent by First Rand Bank of South Africa.
The Minority at a news conference Thursday,demanded the abrogation of the “fraudulent” transaction with immediate effect.
Leading the crusade to halt the sale, New Juaben South Member of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah said the deal was an attempt by government to short-change Ghanaians.
He explained that the deal lacked due diligence compared to the process First Rand of South Africa, who first made a bid for Merchant Bank, went through before the negotiations broke down.
The sale is already a subject of a court action as the Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni has filed an application to seek an injunction to stop the sale.
Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Friday, Kwesi Pratt called on those in charge of the sale not to turn deaf ears to the legitimate issues raised by the Minority.
According to him, just like any Ghanaian, they [Minority] have the right to make sure the right things are done to ensure there is due diligence and value for money.
Kwesi Pratt noted that the interest people have shown in buying Merchant Bank is an attestation that it is viable if managed well.
He could not fathom why the state sold Merchant Bank with a stated capital of 68 million cedis to Fortiz which has a stated capital of just five billion cedis. “Is this a case of an ant swallowing a frog,” he quizzed.
The Insight Editor feared Merchant Bank could end up like other state companies which collapsed soon after they were sold.
This notwithstanding, Kwesi Pratt bemoaned the unnecessary politicization of such an important issue adding that those against it must be  “guided by clear principles”.

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