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Finance: Locked-Up Investors Forum to Picket Finance Ministry Over Locked-up Funds

Expressing frustration at the lack of progress, the Forum has notified the Police of their intention to picket outside the Ministry every Wednesday until the end of November, should their demands remain unmet

Locked-Up Investors Forum, a group of investors who have been unable to access their funds following the collapse of several financial institutions some seven years ago have issued a notice to picket the Finance Ministry starting Wednesday, May 15, 2024, and every other Wednesday till November 2024.

The decision to picket arises from their allegations that the Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, has disregarded their petition and subsequent reminders sent to his office.

In a statement, the Convener of the Locked-up Investment Holders Forum, Dr. Adu Anane Antwi said they want the Finance Minister to allocate financial resources to enable the Bank of Ghana to revoke the licences of the insolvent finance houses as well as savings and loans companies in order to pay the investors.

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“We sent a petition to the Minister for Finance appealing to the Minister to provide funds for the payment of depositors’ funds with the insolvent Finance Houses and Savings & Loans Companies to enable Bank of Ghana to revoke their licences and pay depositors, in line with the Government’s commitment to protect depositors’ funds,” he said.

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They argue that it is imperative to facilitate the payments. The statement is evidence of their frustration with the Minister’s lack of response, despite reminders and warnings of a picket, should their concerns remain unaddressed.

“It has been more than two (2) weeks since we sent our reminder letter to the Ministry for Finance but we have not received any response,” he added.

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The financial sector clean-up exercise embarked upon by the government in 2017 and 2018 led to the revocation of the licenses of many financial institutions for a number of infractions. However, not all the institutions had their licences revoked though they were insolvent, due to legal challenges and other reasons. This development has left many individuals, including retirees, in dire financial straits, relying on the goodwill of others for basic needs such as food and medication.

To amplify their voices, the affected investors united under the Locked-Up Investment Forum led by the Convener, a former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, hoping that collective action would expedite the release of their funds. However, their efforts have yet to yield tangible results.

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According to the statement, on March 27, 2024, the Forum staged a public protest against the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance, urging collaboration between the two institutions to address their plight. While they secured an audience with the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, their attempts to engage with the Minister of Finance or his representatives were unsuccessful.

“We staged a public protest on 27th March 2024 with a march to the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance to put pressure on the two institutions to work to get us back our locked-up funds. We had a meeting with the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, but could not get the Minister for Finance or any representative of the Minister for a meeting,” he said.

During their meeting with the Central Bank, the Governor reportedly informed them that the Bank of Ghana intends to revoke the licences of the institutions pending the provision of funds by the Ministry of Finance for depositor payouts. Despite submitting a petition to the Finance Minister on March 28, 2024, followed by a reminder on April 18, 2024, the Forum received no response.

Expressing frustration at the lack of progress, the Forum has notified the Police of their intention to picket outside the Ministry every Wednesday until the end of November, should their demands remain unmet.

“Consequently, we have informed the Police of our plan to begin picketing the Ministry from Wednesday, 15th May 2024 to further press home our request. We shall be picketing the Ministry every Wednesday till the end of November 2024 if our request is not met,” he added.

The government is reported to have spent about 25 billion cedis on the financial sector cleanup but not all investors have received their funds. Multiple demonstrations have been held in the past but with little outcome. With the current financial difficulty that confronts the government, it is unclear if these locked-up funds will be paid before the end of the year.  

Some analysts however believe that the government may be compelled to find a way to meet the investors halfway if their protests have the potential to impact the electoral fortunes of the ruling New Patriotic Party in the December polls.

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