Business & Loan

GCB bank leadership goes dodgy on US$20 million bullion van deal

The board and management of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB Bank) Plc, are out dancing around the issue of the US$20 million loan to a company called Brompton Ghana Limited, owned by a relative of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, for the procurement of some armoured-plated bullion vans for cash transit across the country.

In a joint-statement issued in reaction to the publication in The Herald, the board led by Jude Arthur and management of GCB Bank led by Kofi Adomakoh, sought to deny details of the publications and accused the newspaper of “an attempt to malign the hard work of the management and staff of GCB Bank in growing this great national asset”.

The Herald, had reported on a US$20 million deal being cooked for a 33-year old member of the Akufo-Addo family by the management of the state-owned GCB. He had no license from the Interior Ministry to operate a security company.

The owners of Brompton, with the influence of the presidency, had dashed to the National Security Ministry to obtain a license which was later invalidated by the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery.

The loan is to get Brompton Ghana Limited, to import some armour-plated vehicles into the country, to be used as bullion vans services for GCB, despite doubts about the company’s financial capacity, as well as their ability to raise the needed collateral for the US$20 million credit facility in case of default.

What is strange is that, the company already has a contract prepared by the management of GCB, waiting for it, to take over the transportation and distribution of cash across the country on behalf of GCB bank.

Interestingly, the board and management of GCB Bank, failed to mention any particular company with the requisite armoured-plated bullion vans it had engaged to be carting the money across the country on its behalf, but warned that “any attempt to influence the Bank to consider any vendor who does not meet the requirements for the CIT services will not be tolerated”.

The statement claimed GCB, has only taken delivery of a number of proposals from prospective vendors on the Bank’s existing cash in transit (CIT) vendors which will be considered within the framework of the Bank’s procurement process.

This it said was as a result of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) directive for Banks to replace soft skinned bullion vans with armoured bullion vans for CIT services

“It may be recalled that in December 2020, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) issued a directive for Banks to replace soft skinned bullion vans with armoured bullion vans for CIT services. Subsequent to the BOG directive, GCB Bank Plc received a number of proposals from prospective vendors which will be considered within the framework of the Bank’s procurement process”, the bank said.

“We wish to assure clients, the general public and all stakeholders that the Bank upholds high governance standards in engaging vendors and will comply with its procurement policy and process to ensure that companies that meet both technical and financial requirements are selected to carry out CIT service for the Bank”, it stressed.

The statement said “GCB Bank Plc has a rich heritage and is a national asset that must be shielded and protected from persons with malicious intent. The Board and Management of GCB would like to urge our staff, customers, shareholders and the general public to ignore the malicious publication and other versions being circulated on social media and other platforms.

But The Herald’s information was that, certain companies are already doing the business, but the GCB management is doing everything possible to snatch the arrangement from these Ghanaians companies for Brompton to take over.

The Presidency is said to be behind the scenes using executive power, pushing the deal through for the owners of the Bromptom, who are based in London.

Discussions on the deal are said to have sparked murmurings at GCB, with some officials worried and complaining. They questioned whether any private commercial bank would have entered a transaction of this nature.

The only reason GCB is involved in this deal, is because it is a state owned bank and the owner of company in question is related to Nana Akufo-Addo.

It is clear that, the directive by the Ghana Police Service and Banks of Ghana (BOG) for all commercial banks to use armour-plated vehicles to move their currencies across the country in the wake of the armed robberies on bullion vans, has gotten family members of the President rushing in with sweetheart deals, which no one would have gotten, but for their family connections.

Interestingly, the owners of Brompton, have no experience in the business and don’t have a single armour-plated car in Ghana currently, according to The Herald information.

Brompton, also doesn’t have the required security clearance to operate as a security company to cart money across the country. The Herald’s information is that its owners are currently at the Interior Ministry with application for the appropriate Security License to operate.

The process might take time, unless the Presidency used its powers on the Interior Minister, to push their way through to get the license for the company. The Presidency had earlier used the wrong approach to get the document from the National Security Ministry, but got it invalidated by the Interior Ministry.

It doesn’t have the workforce to do the job either. It is also unclear if Brompton has a recognized office space in Ghana, as the owners spend more time in London than in Accra.

This paper’s information is that, the owners of the Brompton, are in London currently, trying to get the armour-plated car manufacturers to partner them to meet the contract from GCB.

But back home, The Herald’s sources at the GCB, have revealed management’s decision to split the deal into parts and hand over a whopping 87 percent of the transaction to Brompton, Black Swan and G4S.

The Legal and Procurement departments, are under the strict instruction of the management of GCB, to work around the clock to get the deal through for the three companies.

The Herald, a fortnight ago, reported on confusion between the National Security Ministry and that of the Interior Ministry over the directive from the Ghana Police Service to all Commercial Banks in the country to use armour-plated bullion vans to move money across the country.

This follows the rampant armed attacks on the existing vehicles, mainly retrofitted pickups leading to the loss of lives including policemen escorting huge volumes of currency from one destination to another.

The confusion, The Herald learnt had come from what the Interior Ministry led by Ambrose Dery believes was an attempt by the National Security Ministry led by Albert Kan Dapaa to usurp its role by granting permission to a heavily connected private company to import the specialized vehicles into the country for the bullion services.

The Interior Ministry has been in-charge of licensing the operations of private security companies and believes the importation of armour-plated vehicles into the country by companies registered as security firms, falls directly under its mandate and not that of the National Security Ministry.

People familiar with the matter, revealed to The Herald that the confusion was sparked by the National Security Ministry’s dealings with a private called Brompton.

The National Security Ministry had given it what was thought to be an authorization to the Brompton to import the vehicle into Ghana to begin operating bullion services.

Bromtom, The Herald picked up, was mentioned as having an overwhelming connection to the Presidency, and gets path cleared by phone calls.

What is shocking is that the company has no prior experience in the area of the bullion van operation but its owners according to The Herald sources are riding high on their connection to Jubilee House to get the needed security clearance among other things to get the armour-plated vehicles into Ghana to begin moving money across the country.

The Herald is informed that the National Security Ministry and the Ministry of Interior have been locked up in various meetings to have the matter of who has the power to allow the importation of the bullion vans by Bromtom into town.

Exactly a year ago, the Ghana Police Service cautioned banks across the country as far as the transportation of cash is concerned.

In a statement issued by its Public Affairs Directorate, the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh, on Monday, 14th June 2021 directed banks to ensure that they procure fortified armoured vehicles to cart cash within the country.

The press release signed by Supt. Sheila Abayie-Buckman further warned the Service is ready to withdraw their regular escorts if the financial institutions fail to comply with the directive by the end of this month.

“The IGP is also reminding the Association of Bankers to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting currencies by the close of June 2021 as earlier agreed between them and the Police Service, else the Police will withdraw its officers from escort duties.”

This comes in the wake of rampant robbery attacks on bullion vans in recent times.

In December 2020, the Bank of Ghana after a meeting with Cash Operations Managers directed all Deposit-Taking Institutions (DTIs) to acquire amour-plated bullion vans for cash operations.

Six months down the line, not much has been seen in that regard. Security analysts have also described the vehicles currently being used in the said operations as below standard.

However, the attack on yet another van, which resulted in the killing of a police officer and a hawker at Adedenkpo, in James Town on Monday, June 14, 2021 brought the issue back to the fore.

The driver of the van, also sustained injuries and was admitted at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for treatment. The ladies on the bullion van, both tellers of Mon-Tran, escaped unhurt but were sent to the hospital to be treated for trauma.

On the back of that, Mr Oppong-Boanuh, warned that all financial organisations who flout the order will have their police attachments recalled.

Below is the full statement by GCB Bank Plc

GCB Bank Plc has noted with dismay the publication of news items in the 8th and 24th June 2022 editions of a newspaper called the Herald suggesting the termination of the contracts of the Bank’s existing cash in transit (CIT) vendors and awarding contracts for armoured bullion van CIT services to unqualified vendors. We deem the content of the publication as false, malicious and intended to discredit and unnecessarily pre-empt the efforts of the Board and Management of the Bank to proactively protect the interest of shareholders.

The Bank has neither terminated the contract of existing CIT service providers nor awarded a contract for the use of armoured bullion vans for CIT services.

Further, the Bank has not granted a loan to any company to procure and/or operate armoured bullion vans for CIT services. For the paper to insinuate that GCB Bank is granting a US$20 Million facility to a vendor to procure armoured vans and provide CIT services to the Bank is frivolous and a figment of their imagination in an attempt to malign the hard work of the management and staff of GCB Bank in growing this great national asset. Any attempt to influence the Bank to consider any vendor who does not meet the requirements for the CIT services will not be tolerated.

It may be recalled that in December 2020, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) issued a directive for Banks to replace soft skinned bullion vans with armoured bullion vans for CIT services. Subsequent to the BOG directive, GCB Bank Plc received a number of proposals from prospective vendors which will be considered within the framework of the Bank’s procurement process.

We wish to assure clients, the general public and all stakeholders that the Bank upholds high governance standards in engaging vendors and will comply with its procurement policy and process to ensure that companies that meet both technical and financial requirements are selected to carry out CIT service for the Bank.

GCB Bank Plc has a rich heritage and is a national asset that must be shielded and protected from persons with malicious intent. The Board and Management of GCB would like to urge our staff, customers, shareholders and the general public to ignore the malicious publication and other versions being circulated on social media and other platforms.

The Bank is focused on providing financial service to its customers and wide stakeholder groups and will continue to protect their interests.

Signed;

On Behalf of the Board and Management 26th June 2022

Corporate Affairs / Media Contacts

Emmanuel Kojo Kwarteng

Email: [email protected] Telephone: +233540103097

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