Pressure Group, OccupyGhana has asked the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to put a stop to unlicensed deposit-taking by some entities.
It would be recalled that on November 8, 2018, the Central Bank published a notice in the newspapers, warning the public against doing business with some six unlicensed deposit-taking entities.
The entities, according to the notice, were Wealth Drive Ghana Limited (WDG), Devonshire Place Capital Ghana Limited, TCL Markets Ghana Limited, FX-Crypto Traders, Sonsis Susu Services.
But OccupyGhana believes the warning to the public alone is insufficient, and that the Central Bank should crack down on the institutions involved in the act.
In a statement made available to BUSINESS GUIDE, OccupyGhana said
“we would want to believe that before the bank issues any such notice, it would have ascertained that the companies listed are in fact and obviously engaged in illegal deposit-taking, and it's on this premise that we are compelled to write this letter.”
According to the statement, “This is not the first time that we are seeing a notice from the bank that some companies not licensed to conduct deposit-taking are doing just that.”
It said “however, the notices have been roundly ignored and have failed to have any effect because it does not appear to us that the full effect and brunt of the law has ever been brought to bear on such companies and their controllers, directors, officers and shareholders.”
It stated that “effectively, the easiest sphere to commit a crime in Ghana appears to be the financial sector because no one ever gets prosecuted for committing such crimes.”
The statement observed that “it's a sad story, for instance, that after several years of persons unleashing one Ponzi scheme after another upon Ghana with devastating consequences for citizens and the economy, there does not appear to be a single successful prosecution of any controller, director, shareholder or officer of the companies that operated such schemes.
“The bank needs no reminder that by the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) and all preceding Banking legislation) have entrusted the bank with the protection of depositors in the country through the regulation and supervision of financial institutions,” it said.
“OccupyGhana® is therefore concerned that where certain businesses are engaged in illegal deposit-taking, the bank does not appear to have exercised its vast powers under Sections 20 to 22 of Act 930 at all, except issuing notices and warning statements. Ghanaians have the right to demand that the bank takes the steps set out by law and apply the sanctions provided for breaches.”
“OccupyGhana® does not need to remind the Bank of Ghana that Act 930 gives it immense powers with respect to deposit-taking and prohibits anyone from accepting deposits from the general public or carrying on a deposit-taking business without the bank's licence.”
It added that “OccupyGhana® does not have to remind the bank that where it has sufficient reason to believe that a person is transacting or carrying on a deposit-taking business or taking deposits in contravention” of the law, the bank has the power to cause a full-scale forensic audit to be conducted of that business to first ascertain that that person is involved in the illegal activity, and then close down the business of that person.”
“The bank does not need any further reminder, and it is for good reason that the law empowers it, as part of this forensic audit, to demand the production of all books, instruct the freezing of assets, suspend the business, etc.”