Imani's Bright Simons makes RTI request on KMA's missing GH¢3.6million

  Tue, 14 May 2024
Headlines Imani's Bright Simons makes RTI request on KMA's missing GH3.6million

Lawyers representing Mr Bright Simons, Vice President of IMANI Africa, have submitted a Right to Information (RTI) request under Act 989, seeking disclosure regarding the utilisation of GH¢3.6 million belonging to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).

The funds, held by Fidelity Bank Ghana, became the subject of controversy when the bank allegedly could not account for them. Reports suggest the KMA raised concerns about the sum, part of an GH¢8 million loan obtained from Fidelity Bank for the KMA-Krofrom Market Project redevelopment. Allegedly, only GH¢5 million was released for the project, leaving the remaining amount unaccounted for.

Fidelity Bank refuted any wrongdoing, clarifying that the entire GH¢8.6 million disbursed for Phase 1 included GH¢4 million from their approved GH¢5 million facility and GH¢4.6 million from KMA's contribution.

The bank clarified that in November 2020, KMA transferred an amount of GHS 5 million as advance mobilisation into the KMA-Krofrom Market Redevelopment project account held at Fidelity Bank.

It said these initial funds were from KMA’s own resources.

In December 2020, at the request of KMA, Fidelity Bank said it approved a GHS 5 million short-term loan facility for the KMA-Krofrom Market Redevelopment project which was to be disbursed in phases based on the progress of work done.

In February 2021, Fidelity Bank said it disbursed GHS 4 million out of the GHS 5 million approved short-term facility to KMA.

The Assembly (KMA), the statement noted, “then utilised the facility of GHS 4 million together with their own funds of GHS 4.6 million to support payments to project contractors amounting to GHS 8.6 million under the first phase of the project”.

In December 2021, Fidelity Bank said KMA paid off the total outstanding facility of GHS 4 million to the bank.

“From the foregoing records of Fidelity Bank Ghana, there is no missing or unaccounted-for amount of GHS 3.6 million as indicated in KMA’s release. The entire amount of GHS 8.6 million disbursed for Phase 1 of the project comprised of GHS 4 million disbursed from Fidelity Bank’s approved facility of GHS 5 million and the KMA’s own funds of GHS 4.6 million disbursed from their contribution of GHS 5million towards the project”, the bank clarified.

Fidelity Bank reiterated that it has “consistently maintained open communication channels with KMA regarding the project fund, exchanging letters and emails since April 5, 2023, to address inquiries and concerns. We have provided all necessary information as of September 27, 2023, and remain open to further communication. All correspondence is on record”.

“We would like to assure KMA and the public that we are fully committed to cooperating with any investigations or inquiries to address this matter comprehensively. Our priority remains upholding the highest standards of transparency, accountability, and integrity in all our dealings”, he noted.

The bank said it remains “steadfast in our commitment to serving the best interests of Ghanaians, our clients and the communities we operate in”.

However, Gratia Law Consult, representing Mr Bright Simons, emphasised the need for transparency, requesting comprehensive details of the arrangements between Fidelity Bank and KMA to pursue public interest objectives.

Gratia Law Consult, in their request, demanded “a detailed and thorough understanding of these arrangements to assist his further factual deductions and to pursue his public interest objectives.”

The lawyers said, “For the avoidance of doubt, we believe, on careful consideration of the statute and the circumstances at hand, that Fidelity Bank, because of its dealings with KMA and other state-owned institutions, qualifies to be listed as a 'relevant private body' within the meaning of the term in Act 989 and, at any rate, is a quasi-public institution in view of its receipt of public resources through KMA and others."

“There are, therefore, ample statutory and public policy grounds for the requested information to be disclosed in full, without exception or exemption, and without any regard to commercial secrecy.”