The Board Chairman of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB Bank), Daniel Owiredu is struggling to parry allegation of playing double roles in the running of the bank, having appointed himself as Chairman of the Credit Sub-committee of the bank.
Following media publications pointing out several anomalies at the bank, including granting of huge loans to some clients with little or no security thereby over-exposing the institution, Mr. Owiredu admitted on Paul Adom-Otchere’s ‘Good Evening Ghana’ programme on Metro TV yesterday that indeed he is playing dual roles as the board chairman and presiding over the Credit Risk Sub-Committee where huge loans are approved. The final report of the Credit Sub-committee is usually presented to the board for final approval, which is incidentally chaired by Mr. Owiredu, raising serious conflict of interest situation.
There is also a growing concern by some stakeholders of the bank that the chairman is operating like an executive chairman since he is said to be caught in the day-to-day operations of the bank as his consent is needed in the daily decisions of the financial institution.
However, he explained that there was nothing wrong with him presiding over the credit committee since his predecessor had also played the same role.
He cited his predecessors Dr Fritz Gockel and Kojo Thompson as having chaired the same committee.
He said the Large Credit Sub-committee was established by Kojo Thompson in 2010 and he only follows the precedent.
He said his chairing of the Credit Risk Committee doesn’t affect checks and balances, explaining that there are other people in the bank who also approve loans but on limited levels.
The Sub-committee reports to the board, presided over by Mr Owiredu after its work, thereby creating a big gap about good corporate governance issue.
But he said loans are approved after the legal department has gone through the documents.
However, some of the individuals and corporate entities could not service the loans and it is said that there is no adequate security to protect the bank.
His inclusion, according to sources, empowered the board chairman to unduly influence activities of the sub-committee.
Mr Owiredu had earlier issued a rejoinder denying the allegation that some dodgy loans had been approved without adequate collateral.
Mr. Owiredu is a mining expert, having served as the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Executive Vice President, Managing Director of the then Ashanti Goldfields and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Star Resources Limited, before he was appointed to the GCB Board.