09.03.2005 Business & Finance

Peter Duah's Meddling Brings NTHC to Its Knees

By Chronicle
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GSE resumes trading yesterday without NTHC

The Chief Executive of State Insurance Company who also doubles as the board chairman of National Trust Holding Company has eventually brought NTHC, the only government stockbroking firm to its knees.

Dr. Albert Barnor, the Managing Director of the Trust revealed to the BHusiness Chronicle how the board chairman relentless interference had led to the failure of NTHC to meet its obligations to the Ghana Stock Exchange.

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) in a letter dated March 2, 2005 and signed by its Managing Director, Dr. Albert Bannor, has suspended the National Trust Holding Company (NTHC) Brokerage Ltd from participating in the trading activities of the Accra bourse.

The brokerage firm has been suspended from trading for failing to pay outstanding levies due the Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission on a transaction worth $30million.

The brokerage firm was involved in sale of government shares in Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

The problem has been attributed to laxity on the part of NTHC.

According to the letter, several reminders have been sent to the firm without any reply.

They stated, "We write the to advise that NTCH Ltd. would not be permitted to trade on the Exchange's floor effective Friday March 4, 2005 until the said levy and accumulated interest and the GSE portion has been settled."

The statement said for the ease of reference, the GSE and the SEC levies of the buy side are ¢553.44 million and ¢276.72 million respectively, totaling ¢830.16 million.

However, an interest of 18.5% would be charged on the GSE portion of the levy in accordance with page 181 of the GSE Rule Book.

The statement added that NTHC would be allowed to resume trading only when both items have been fully discharged. The letter of suspension was addressed however to Dr. Bannor.

In an interview with Dr. Bannor about the suspension of the company, he said he had successfully negotiated for the deal but things got worse when the board chairman, Peter Osei-Dua started interfering. "They did not handle the transaction well leading to the breaking of the GSE Rule Book, after taking over the transaction."

Dr. Bannor said the NTHC management held a meeting yesterday without him as the MD.

Meanwhile, a school of thought says parties to the transaction, including the government of Ghana and SSNIT are not willing to pay the commission for the regulators of the capital market.

The suspension has also been linked with the broker's on-going boardroom power struggle between the Managing Director of NTHC, Dr Albert Bannor and the Board Chairman, Peter Osei-Dua.

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