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28.07.2009 General News

No financial loss to the state-Prudential Bank MD assures Ghanaians

By Daniel Nonor Email ([email protected]) - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Managing Director of Prudential Bank, Mr. Stephen Sekyere-Abankwa, yesterday denied suggestions that his bank, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and National Investment Bank (NIB) had intentions to cause financial loss to the state.

This was when he appeared before a Commission of Inquiry to answer questions relating to the role of the consortium with regard to the [email protected] celebrations, which has been the subject matter of heated controversy between members of the government and opposition parties.

As far as he was concerned, Mr. Abankwa said the three banks, which formed the consortium, were commissioned for the purpose of helping to raise funds for the [email protected] celebrations, and nothing more or less.

Beyond that, he said, the consortium did nothing wrong to willfully cause financial loss to the state, as was being suggested.

He, therefore, sort to erase any doubts hanging over the disbursement of funds for the celebrations.

Mr. Abankwa also denied suggestions of his bank, the Prudential Bank, ever paying any amounts of money to either the former Chief Executive of the Secretariat, Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby, or the former Chief of Staff and Chairman of the [email protected] Planning Committee, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani.

The Managing Director answered questions bordering on the formation of the African

Union Development Consortium Limited (AUDCL), to build 30 presidential mansions at Ridge, La, and the Cantonments Village Project, to provide accommodation for presidents and other dignitaries who attended the AU Summit, the [email protected] anniversary, and other conferences such as the UNCTAD.

The AUDCL, which was made up of the Prudential Bank, National Investment Bank and Agricultural Development Bank, was used to acquire a loan from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to help the banks complete the houses on schedule.

Narrating the whole process to the commission, Mr. Abankwa, who is also the Director of the AUDCL, said the relationship between the AUDCL and the [email protected] Secretariat was a business relationship, which involved the construction of the houses.

On the 30 presidential mansions at Ridge, he indicated that the Africa Union (AU) Summit was to take place on July, 2007 in Accra, and in September 2006, the National Planning Committee of the [email protected] Secretariat reached an agreement with the three banks, which formed the consortium, to undertake the construction of the 30 presidential mansions at Ridge, a suburb of Accra, from their own accounts.

This means the banks had to raise their own money to finance the construction of the mansions.

Mr. Abankwa said the agreement was reached for the transaction, contained in letter dated 4th September 2006 from the National Planning Committee of the Secretariat, and signed by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpianim, among others.

The letter further directed the banks to provide money for the construction of 30 presidential masons to the government to accommodate the guests.

He added that in order not to miss this golden relationship with the government, they formed the consortium, which was owned by the three banks.

According to him, the National Planning Committee later directed the banks to put the 30 mansions on plots of land belong to the SSNIT, and also took a loan from the same institution.

Before actual construction works of the masons commenced, the [email protected] Secretariat submitted drawings for the 30 mansions.

The AUDCL engaged the services of a consortium, known as Constro Consult, to provide construction services, design of site, preparations of bid, bid documents, evaluation of bids and other works.

In all, the MD said seven construction companies were engaged for the construction of the houses at the Ridge site.

He was quick to add that construction of the 30 mansions started some where in January 2007, and was completed in June 2007.

After the AU Summit, he stated that the government withheld the sale of the houses, saying that they would be used for other conferences, such as the UNCTAD.

By a letter from the government, dated 29th August 2007, the consortium was informed that the government was interested in acquiring the houses.

In another letter, the government directed that the 30 houses should be sold, which the AUDCL has now engaged the services of Amalgan Consult to sell off the houses to enable the government pay the banks, contractors and other bills.

He note that the outstanding bills at 30th June was GH¢504636.37.

Touching on the La, Cantonments Village project, which is estimated at GH¢10 million, he said since the consortium could not raise the amount from the banks, therefore the consortium contracted the amount from SSNIT, to provide financing for the project.

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