Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Malik Kweku Baako, has revealed that he [Kweku Baako] is aware of plans by President John Mahama’s brother, Ibrahim Mahama, to settle his company’s indebtedness to Merchant Bank by December 15, 2013.
Mr. Baako said this last Saturday, November 23 on Accra-based Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile.
Kweku Baako said the president’s brother was in the process of repaying the loan which his Engineers and Planners firm contracted from the bank in 2007.
“I have seen enough records that indicate that by December 15, Engineers and Planners (E&Ps) would have settled its indebtedness with Merchant Bank,” he said.
The loan became the subject of controversy following the proposed sale of Merchant Bank to FirstRand of South Africa. The sale, according to sources close to the shareholders, has been necessitated by huge debt profile of the bank.
Engineers and Planners (E&P) took a loan of GHS57 million from the bank but huge interests have accrued on the amount.
Reports indicate that the debt now stands at 175 million Ghana cedis.
It will be recalled that Pressure group, Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG) had called for the assets of Mr. Ibrahim Mahama to be frozen pending investigations into the matter.
It claimed E&P’s debt was 19.1 percent of the Bank’s debt portfolio. The group also claimed the loan was reportedly left subserviced by E&P since President Mahama’s party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came to power in 2009.
Engineers and Planners had however indicated that some technicalities caused the delay in the repayment of the loan, insisting there was a payment plan the company was following in servicing the debt.
The issue resurfaced with the announced sale of the bank to Fortiz Equity Fund.
But Kweku Baako feels it is “very petty” to politicize the sale of the Bank by trying to link Ibrahim Mahama to it. He revealed that “in the next few days it will be clear that that E&P’s indebtedness has been worked out”.