BoG freezes accounts of UT, Capital Banks’ directors

The Central Bank has frozen the accounts of key management members of UT and Capital banks, hours after the banks went bust.

The Bank of Ghana has explained, the decision is to enable it establish if any suspicious transactions were conducted using those accounts, before the collapse of the two indigenous banks.

Head of Banking Supervision at the bank, Raymond Amanfo said the accounts monitoring will aid investigators unearth if any “unusual” money was transferred in and out of them.

“What we have done is to block directors’ accounts, is to block related parties’ accounts [and] to block key management staff accounts,” he told Raymond Acquah on Upfront on the Joy News channel on Multi TV Thursday.

The acquisition of UT and Capital Banks by GCB Bank has been described by analysts as timeous and necessary, to sanitise the banking sector.

The two banks were financially distressed, the Central Bank said, minutes after it approved the deal on Monday.

UT and Capital Banks started operation in 2009 and succeeded in curving a niche for themselves in the banking sector. Their investment packages were seen as one of the best in the industry.

But eight years after playing leading role in the industry, they have been declared as financially weak to exist as autonomous institutions.

As part of plans to single out the cause of the collapse, the Central Bank has initiated investigations into accounts of directors, management members and shareholders of the two banks.

Three days after the sale of the banks, the Head of Banking Supervision at the Central Bank said the accounts of the directors and senior managers at UT and Capital Banks have been suspended.

“If they find out anything unusual, it [will] become a subject to the investigators,” he said.

But Head of Economic Department at the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey has asked Bank of Ghana to use the legal means to implement its plan.

He said the Central Bank could avert any opposition if it seeks court order before freezing the accounts.

Professor Quartey cited an incident in Kenya where a court overturned a bank’s decision to freeze a customer’s account.

“Close the legal process,” he cautioned Bank of Ghana.