So Dr Mensa Otabil, the outspoken founder and General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) has received a lot of fire in the past few weeks for superintending over the collapse of the now defunct Capital Bank. Otabil was board chairman when the bank took several detrimental decisions in the build up to its collapse.
While his most loyal church members have stood with him awkwardly, many Ghanaians are calling for him to face the music if found culpable. But he might never be sanctioned for any wrong doing. Here are five reasons why.
1. The Motives for “mismanagement” Could be Sensible
Forget the anger that people have shown towards the bank’s mismanagement and how it utilized the central bank’s bail out cash of 610 million Cedis. Some of it was used to set up new businesses far away. But is that totally wrong? No.
For a long time, banks were not considered as part of the productive sectors of an economy. Banking business does not produce any tangible goods of value. It’s the other businesses that banks lend to who create real value and wealth. To be in business, a bank needs to have liquid assets that can help in hard times when its finances are stretched thin. That’s why every good bank owns assets like businesses, shares in businesses, land or properties, whether home or far away in lucrative locations. It’s necessary for survival.
Capital Bank needed to pay back the 610 million Cedis bailout cash from the central bank. They probably spotted a few business opportunities that could make some profit, improve the bank’s standing and help in repaying the central bank. That is very possible. And money is such that if you keep all of it, if you hold too tight to it, you won’t make more.
Do you still think it was a totally stupid decision to set up other businesses with the money? How would we be reacting if it had been successful?
2. Otabil Could Still be Innocent
One of the most annoying points of this saga is taking out the bank’s money to go and do business in another country. But it was William Ato Essien and not Otabil, who was implicated in taking out money to establish other businesses. He might have known about it but if you pay attention, you’d realize Dr. Mensa Otabil has been the face of the whole misfortune just because he was board chair. And because he knows how to fire shots at people.
As a pastor who doesn’t shy away from preaching against misbehaviour in society and calling people out, the outspoken man of God was wanted by many already. And when his matter came, Ghanaians did not hold back.
But for all that, he may be guilty of only incompetence but innocent of willfully collapsing the bank and causing financial loss to the nation’s coffers.
3. A Board Chairman Can be Deceived
A board of directors and its chairman can be deceived especially when they don’t work in the company concerned. A board chair of a bank doesn’t necessarily wake up every morning to go to work in the bank. The CEO and other executives do. Which is why Otabil sought to make clear that he was a non-executive member who was not directly involved in the day to day running of the bank. It might not be a very strong excuse for him to give but there’s some truth and sense in that, which is why he said it.
4. The board chairman is not the board. Or?
A board chairman has more responsibility than other board members. But power? In how many instances can a board chairman override the decisions and wishes of the other directors on the board? If they vote together on decisions as a team and majority are in support of a certain decision, how much power does Otabil have against the majority?
5. Otabil is a b-ii-ii-ii-g man
As for this one, you have to endure the skin pain if you’re not one of those who stand with Otabil.
To be honest, Ghana is an animal farm and Ghanaians are not equal. Why else would someone who steals a mobile phone and a little money be sentenced to many years in prison?
When we’re talking about powerful men of God in Ghana, Dr Mensa Otabil is in a certain league and ranks with the most revered. Otabil is a biiiiig man. You can bark all you want but in the end if the courts …
Hey, where’s Kwasi Nyantakyi? It’s been a while since we heard of him oo.