A group calling itself the Concerned workers of Merchant bank in Accra have presented a five (5) point petition to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for investigation.

Merchant bank has recently been in the news over its impending sale to South African Bank First Rand Bank.

According to the petition copied to Today, the Concerned group noted with disquiet the attempts by some social commentators and politicians to unduly politicize what should be treated as an economic crime against the people of the Republic of Ghana.

In the petition, the group recalled that as far back as 2007, Mr. Blaise Mankwa, former Managing Director of Merchant bank, was sacked for granting loans without the approval of the

Bank?s Board of Directors and against Bank of Ghana?s regulations?At the heart of the

?loan scandal? was an unsecured Loan granted to Ibrahim Mahama?s Engineers and

Planners to the tune of $46 million (GH?90 million today).

The group argues that that singular loan formed about 17% of the Bank?s total loan portfolio and the fact that it was unsecured made it a bit more disturbing.

The Concerned group in Merchant bank added that between 2007 and end of December 2008, Engineers and Planners was compelled to servicing the loan by arrangement that ensured at least the interest on loan was paid; ?Since the NDC came to power and his brother became (Vice) President, he stopped servicing the loan and has not made any payment since 2009.?

It continued that Mr. Mankwa who had approved the illegal loan and was sacked ended up curiously at then Vice President Mahama?s office as Advisor with Mr. Mankwa proceeding to sue the bank for illegal termination.

In the group?s fourth point, it relayed that Mr. Jonas Koranteng Smart, the ?sacked? union chairman who was then responsible for recoveries at the Bank, chasing Engineers and Planners for repayment and testified for the bank at the court against Mr. Mankwa has recently been sacked, even though Labour Commission has ruled against his dismissal.

To pave way for the sale of the Bank, the Concerned workers disclosed that a new subsidiary called MART was now set up to be owned by SSNIT and SIC Life (both government companies) to ring fence the 200 million bad debts of the bank, including 57 million Ghana Cedis of E&P.

?Notably, Engineers and Planners has not paid a cedi of its obligations since NDC came to powerputting the bank under considerable strain necessitating the deal.?

On top of these troubles, the Merchant bank workers lament that the new directors of Merchant Bank, in 2010 went ahead and guaranteed another 5 million US dollar loans at GhanaCommercial Bank for E&P??If E&P did not pay under a bank, how will it pay to SSNIT? Why are the South Africans running from the banks debts?? they rhetorised.

?These are the facts,? the group reiterated, urging CHRAJ and all concerned Ghanaians to use its good offices to get to the bottom of this transaction and help unravel the mystery surrounding this Merchant bank sale in order to protect Pensioners funds.

STORY: KORYEKPOR AWLESU FREEMAN

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