Agriculture Development Bank

Agriculture Development Bank


The real intention for the relocation of the headquarters of the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) to the new Accra Financial Centre (AFC) building was the final and very crucial step in preparing the Ghanaian bank for the ultimate swallow-up by the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) of South Africa.

This is because while other foreign banks are entering the Ghanaian market on their own merit to establish and grow organically, RMB would rather do inorganic establishment and growth using ADB?s already established foothold on the market.

To achieve that end, ADB was led into a convoluted transaction with RMB in forming Agridev which constructed the Accra Financial Centre (AFC) on ADB?s parcel of land which according to ADB Managing Director (MD), Stephen Kpordzie was valued at 2.4 million U.S Dollars.

While ADB was offered only 10 percent shares in AFC, the bank was deliberately made to abandon its own headquarters on the Independence Avenue, close to the headquarters of Vanguard Assurance and become the Anchor Tenant in AFC at an annual rent of   GHc 12 million.

The bank then started the process to sell the headquarters building far ahead of the IPO in order to move completely into the new AFC building although it has been established that that decision would make the ailing bank incur an additional cost of GHc 8.4 million for running the headquarters alone, annually.

However, this whole Master Stroke transaction was carried out craftily by Kpordzie and his partners  that it would take only  insiders and other actors in the transaction to know  the actual  raison d?etre in decision to relocate.

While RMB had made its intentions known that it would definitely start its operations in Ghana by June this year, the ADB Initial Public Offer (IPO) was planned to happen in May; strategically: to coincide with RMB?s coming to Ghana,? a source alleged.

?It is a haste in the grand cover-up scheme to prevent any future investigations into the actions  of  the past/current management,? workers maintained.

With all these done, the most important and critical step left is the launch of the bank?s  IPO which was approved by the securities and Exchange Commission before the bank informed UNICOF about the full details, contrary to the earlier agreement between the two parties.

Insiders say that as soon as the IPO  is launched, proxies of RMB, who are Ghanaian individual and institutional  investors, would front for RMB and  grab the shares and later hand them over to the South African bank.

?RMB would then assume full ownership, or at least become majority shareholders, and would be ?unwilling? to look into any past transactions of the bank,? the source reveled.

The South African bank would then swallow ADB along with its ownership in Agridev and the AFC, because being majority shareholders in that building, RMB will definitely use it as their Ghanaian headquarters.

Meanwhile, for pushing the Master Stroke, the current MD stood to gain a handsome reward from the partners in the transaction, and then exit the scene quietely.

This was what infuriated the senior management members who felt being left in the cold by the MD, so pushed hard for a meeting with Kpordzie. But unfortunately, the unionized workers also had wind of this meeting in which the senior management staff were going to negotiate their exit package as well, leading to the current hubbub at the bank.

In spite of worker agitations and  protestations by civil society, and in spite of the fact that, Bank of Ghana cannot claim bona fide ownership of the bank, government seems hell bent on offloading the bank?s shares to the South African entity and keeping just 25 percent shares.

This is being done although it is clear to everybody that RMB owes Ghanaians no allegiance or obligation to lead the financing of  the dream to modernize the country?s agricultural sector, and would be minded by profit motives in its operations to justify its entrance into the Ghanaian market.

The consequences of such a wanton self induced plunder  of  one of the few national assets left would be dire for the nation especially as farmers would face stiff challenges in accessing affordable credit for their farming activities.

That would have put paid the dream and vision of Ghana?s founding fathers who sought to use the bank as the most reliable source of agricultural financing;

That would also  have ended the dream of peasant farmers who would need affordable credit from ADB for their annual farming activities;

That would have ended the nation?s vision of using ADB to support agro-processing as Ghana seeks to add  value to agricultural produce in order to make them competitive in both the domestic and export market.

That would have ended the support ADB gives to government over the years in financing some portions of the agricultural activities in the country

Ghana would have been the ultimate loser, while the only winners would have been RMB which would have used ADB to achieve synthetic growth in Ghana when other foreign banks are entering the Ghanaian financial market on their own strengths and following an organic growth pattern.

Also to gain would have been those Ghanaian institutions and individuals who get paid handsome packages by RMB and its partners for pushing through the deal for them, and those who would have grabbed ADB?s headquarters as a ?thank you? gesture for their ?professional service? in executing  the dirty deal?.

More soon

Source: Justice Lee Adoboe


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