Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister-nominee, has justified why his close associates and allies at Databank have been given public office positions in finance and insurance.
Responding to questions from Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC- North Tongu MP) on issues of ‘state capture’ whereby other entrepreneurs find it difficult to thrive within the financial sector, the nominee indicated that the issue of the financial sector “is a difficult one to hold”.
“First of all, the minister of finance certainly has some difficult one to sway with regards to whoever they appoint to be board members…” Ken Ofori-Atta said.
Ofori-Atta added that the issue of competence is very important in appointing people to serve as board members.
He said, over the past thirty years of the existence of Databank, “our alumni are everywhere in the banking and financial institutions of deep influence in what they do”.
He added: “The issue of public service is one that really has been with [my] family for a long time and I came into it with that aspect. I do not take a salary, I do not take a per diem, so those are not the objectives that I come with.”
He continued: “We have problems in these areas, and therefore, we have people that we trust and are professional to participate in those sectors…so Keli Gadzekpo may be one of the directors at the central bank; that is [one] out of nine or something in terms of coming into the organization with people that you feel have the capacity to help.
We have ten directors at the ministry, which we promoted to coordinating directors and Sampson Akligoh is one of the ten directors. I think you would also realise that in the past, maybe, quite a number of years before we came into government, the ministry of finance lacked people with investment expertise and so there is nothing happening promotionally in that area and I think we should celebrate the entry of investment experts.”
He then concluded: “So, you could look at it as half-empty or half-full; you could be cynical about a motive of state capture of an industry or you could also look at the results of growth in the industry and say that something positive is happening…”
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was concerned about Ken Ofori-Atta appointing close business associates like Keli Gadzekpo onto the board of Bank of Ghana; Rev Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh as Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Sampson Akligoh as Director for the Financial Sector, Ministry of Finance, who also doubles as a board member of the National Insurance Commission.