We are open, transparent and compliant with all applicable laws – GAT

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Ghana’s investment market
Ghana’s investment market

The Ghana Amalgamated Trust Plc (GAT) says it is not true the Trust has offloaded its shares to its third party nominees without giving an opportunity to original Ghanaian shareholders to buy same

A statement issued in Accra by the Trust said GAT was currently not involved in any sale of its shareholding in the selected banks.

The Trust was reacting to a letter titled “Cease and Desist Order to GAT: Stop the Fraud” dated December 20, 2021 issued by Mahama Ayariga (Member of Parliament for Bawku Central) to the Governor of the Bank of Ghana and copied to the media.

It said it has only proposed to undertake a public offer of its own shares (not the shares in the selected banks) to investors in the capital market for the purpose.

The statement said if GAT decided to sell its shareholding in the selected banks, it would comply with the existing arrangement under the investment agreements to give priority (or right of first offer) to the relevant existing shareholders.

It said again (and contrary to what has been stated in the letter), the Minister of Finance did not state anywhere in the 2022 Budget Statement that GAT would offload its shares to private individuals.

“The relevant portions on GAT can be found at paragraphs 400 to 404 and 420 of the Budget Statement, where the emphasis was on the intention to build on the success of GAT by converting it into a permanent investment vehicle to “raise long-term capital to provide equity investments to strengthen financial institutions, and restructure companies
in the hospitality, education, and export-oriented industries that were devastated by COVID-19,” it added.

The statement said investigation into Board chairman and CEO of GAT for coordinating with the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana to implement the questionable transaction had no basis.

It said GAT conducted all its affairs and activities (including its investment in the selected banks) in compliance with applicable laws.

The Trust said regarding any potential sale of GAT’s shares in selected banks, when the time came, GAT would do so in accordance with the investment agreements and applicable law.

It said GAT’s appointment of political directors who were representatives of Government, which the MP described as problematic was also false and had no basis.

The Management of the Trust said GAT had not nominated or appointed any representative of Government to any of the selected banks.

It said all nominees of GAT for the Boards of the selected banks had been selected in accordance with the Bank of Ghana’s directives on corporate governance and fit and proper persons and other applicable law.

Third, GAT has selected its nominee directors on the basis of competence
and skill sets relevant for each selected bank.

It said GAT has influenced the selection of quality independent directors for the selected banks to ensure a balanced approach to board deliberations and decision making.

“The Bank of Ghana goes through a rigorous process of vetting and approving the directors of the selected banks in accordance with the fit and proper person test,” it said.

It said GAT was not aware (nor has it received any complaint or adverse comment from a selected bank) that any of its nominee directors in the selected banks has disturbed (or was disturbing) or has politicised (or is politicising) the operations of any selected bank.

The statement said there was no evidence to show that involvement of GAT and/or its nominee directors in the banks had adversely affected the banks.

The evidence was rather clear that there has been an upturn in the performance of the banks as shown in the publicly reported financials of the selected banks.

It is false and has no basis that fees charged by GAT were fraudulent or unethical.

All fees charged by GAT were disclosed, negotiated and agreed in the investment agreements (and related documents).

The basis for the fees was to cover the expenses of GAT in relation to the assistance with the transformation agenda of the selected.

It has not not received any formal or informal complaint from any selected bank on the fees or the fact the fees are affecting their operations or profits.

“The argument that the fee will hamper the bank’s ability to repay Government is also flawed and the banks are not responsible for repaying the Government since they do not have any contractual link with the Government,” it added.

The statement said the letter showed a lack of understanding of the rationale for GAT, what GAT had done and what GAT intended to do.

It expressed the hope that this brings clarity to the author of the letter, the public and the potential investors of GAT.

The Trust said it had kept its mandate, been open, transparent and compliant with all applicable laws and would continue to do so.

“GAT will continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure that the mandate is successfully and fully achieved,” it said.

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