The scandal that has rocked GCB over the alleged granting of loans without corresponding collateral has left customers of the bank pondering over the future of their savings.
Despite the media blitz surrounding the whole affair, the bank only issued a statement to scratch the surface, without touching on the core subject.
The Board Chairman, Daniel Owiredu, has also not responded to the accusation levelled against him that, contrary to laid down procedure, he served as Chairman of the Credit sub-committee of the bank.
Last week, the Board of Directors, headed by Mr Daniel Owiredu, was compelled to issue a statement signed by the latter, denying the allegation about the inappropriate granting of loans, but failed to address the very substantive issues raised against him (Owiredu).
Mr Owiredu is the chairman of the Credit sub-committee that reports to the board, presided over by himself. 'The allegations were false and malicious and should be treated with contempt,' the statement said.
'It should be noted that GCB has the most stringent rules and procedures in the banking industry for the granting of the loans and under the leadership of its Board Chairman the bank has continued on its growth path and put in place robust risk management systems', it added.
However, sources at the bank say top officials at the bank were not happy with the response, since it failed to address the critical issues raised in the various media publications.
“Why did the press statement refuse to touch on the Board chairman's role in the Credit subcommittee and his connection with some top officials of the bank?
“Additionally, the entire press statement was unconvincing. The Board Chairman must come again,” a top official at the bank told this reporter.
According to sources, Mr. Owiredu reviewed the credit policy of the bank which was used by his predecessors, Mr Fritz Gockel and Mr Kojo Thompson respectively and reconstituted the credit subcommittee to enable him chair, contrary to concerns raised by some of the board members who totally disagree with the board chairman on this credit policy.
This development has, according to sources, empowered the Board chairman to unduly influence activities of the committee.
There is also the growing concern of some stakeholders of the bank that Mr. Owiredu is running an “Executive Board” rather than the usual “Governing Board” which is currently the best corporate governance practice in the country.
Why the Executive board? This is because the desperate board chairman is always caught in the day to day operations of the bank, as his consent is needed in the daily decisions of the biggest state bank, with Ghanaian tax payers being the largest shareholder.
Mr. Owiredu is an eminent Mechanical Engineer and was the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Executive Vice-President, Managing Director of the then Ashanti Goldfields and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Star Resources Limited, a Canadian mining company operating in Ghana, before he was appointed to the GCB Board. More anon