It has emerged that the now-defunct UT Bank at a point saved Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s company from collapsing.
In a yet-to-be televised no holds barred exclusive interview with TV3 Business Focus, President of UT Holdings, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, revealed while President Nana Akufo-Addo was in opposition, he borrowed money from UT, ostensibly to fund his political campaign.
“In actual fact, our president; today’s president, when he was in opposition in his own party in around 2003, he came to UT of all places, a local company, and we gave him a loan and he admits that.
“The Minister of Finance, same thing; his own company would have gone down…and I said this’s Ghanaian company and they still got the potential and we help them out,” Mr Amoabeng said in the interview which on TV3.
The Bank of Ghana on Monday, August 14, 2017 revoked the licences of UT and Capital banks due to their insolvency, leading to a seamless takeover of the two banks by GCB Bank.
UT Bank, which was trading on the Ghana Stock Exchange, had its listing status also suspended.
Provisional figures showed the total liability of UT Bank stood at GH¢850 million while its total assets was pegged at GH¢112 million.
Mr Amoabeng has since the revocation of the licence of UT Bank been a subject of investigations for what the central bank has termed as ‘willful deceit’.
Ofori-Atta and I were ‘very close’
The businessman revealed he “used to be very, very close to him [Ken Ofori-Atta]” but said, “I’m sure now I’m not his friend anymore”.
He recalled how Mr Ofori-Atta called him on phone the day before his bank’s licence was revoked but the Finance Minister never mentioned anything about it.
According to him, they had a “normal chat” which bothered on family, noting he woke up the next morning, August 4, 2017 to find several missed calls on his phone.
“I woke up in the money and…I had 66 missed calls and I said the world is coming to an end,” he said in the interview, noting he immediately called his daughter who broke the news of the collapse of UT Bank to him.
Talking about the financial institution he created which existed for over 20 years before its eventual collapse, Mr Amoabeng said UT created the now waste management giant, Zoomlion, which started off by selling exercise books, saying “we gave him (owner) funding to buy a printing machine”.
‘We never gave money to political parties’
Though Mr Amoabeng said he gave loan to President Akufo-Addo, he indicated that politics was one area UT Bank never supported.
The company, he said, “never gave money to any political party” for the over 20 years it existed, a policy he indicated, ruffled political feathers, leading to the end of the financial institution.
For him, politicians do not mean well for the country for which reason he was not ready to give his money to support them to win political power to superintend over corruption.
“I said I don’t trust that they meant well for this country,” Mr Amoabeng told Paa Kwesi Asare, adding “I wasn’t going to give them my money for them to come to power and be corrupt on the people. That was my policy”.
According to him, the only time his money went into politics was when his sister, who he did not name, stood for primaries.
The business mogul indicated even in the midst of his crisis he resolved not to turn to politicians and people in high places, including pastors because they were going to eventually become his “head of HR” and be asking that their constituents and congregants were given employment.
Mr Amoabeng said he only “wanted people with merit” in his company and not those handpicked by politicians and pastors to be employed.
He said because he did not support politicians, he “failed on all counts and therefore, I was really a target for whoever”.