The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has declined to disclose details surrounding the decision to locate its contentious head office at the Marine Drive enclave, citing the exempt status of such information as internal workings of the bank.
North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had submitted a Right to Information (RTI) request seeking clarity on the alleged payment of $5 million to Marine Metro Development Limited as part of the initial commitment to situate the bank's head office at the Marine Drive enclave.
Despite this request, the BoG remains tight-lipped on the specifics of its decision-making process.
In response to Mr Ablakwa's RTI request, the BoG stated, “Any information relating to the decision to situate the Bank's new head office at the Marine Drive Enclave or otherwise are opinions or advice, which constitute internal workings of the Bank.
The said information is, therefore, regarded as exempt from disclosure by section 13 (1)(a) of Act 989.”
The MP had raised questions of conflict of interest, alleging that the director of Marine Metro Development Limited, Dr. Kwame Nyantakyi-Owusu, is a Non-Executive Director of the BoG and the brother-in-law of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
However, the BoG responded, stating, “The company, Marine Metro Development Limited, is not known to the Bank. The Bank has on no occasion engaged this entity in any capacity. The Bank is, therefore, unable to provide any information regarding the Marine Metro Development Limited.”
Structural integrity assessment and new head office
The BoG justified its decision to build a new ¢250 million head office, explaining that the current building, constructed in the 1960s, has failed a structural integrity assessment.
The bank clarified that the edifice “is no longer fit for purpose and could not stand any major earth tremors.”
According to a press release in August, the central bank clarified, “The outcome of the structural integrity work was that the main building does not satisfy the full complement of excess strength required for a building to be considered safe for usage. This means that in the case of a worst-case gravity and wind loading scenario, for example, unusually strong wind, the building may be significantly affected.”
Minority questions BoG's financial decisions
In response to the Bank of Ghana's reported ¢60.8 billion loss for 2022, the Minority in Parliament, led by Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, raised concerns about the financial decisions of the BoG leadership.
Dr Forson questioned the expenditure of $250 million on a new head office at a time when the bank is facing financial difficulties, accusing the BoG Governor of printing money to finance the project.
“The Bank of Ghana does not have money but spending $250 million for a new head office, which means he is printing additional money to finance this project,” Dr. Forson alleged.