Contrary to earlier claims that the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Johnson P. Asiama, was being hounded from office by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, we learnt that the banker has voluntarily resigned.
It is unclear whether the Deputy Governor’s decision has anything to do with the mind-blowing reports emerging from the corridors of the bank that the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government – which appointed him – attempted to print GH¢1 billion outside the banking system, to finance its electioneering campaign in 2016, which it eventually lost miserably.
Our sources say that the Deputy Governor was queried about the extra cash printing reports and he allegedly admitted it happened; but explained that the then Flagstaff House officials had put pressure on him to okay the surreptitious deal.
When Dr Asiama was reached via telephone yesterday, he rubbished the allegation. “There was nothing like that,” he claimed.
He rather asked for a meeting in the presence of his lawyer, explaining that the issue about the extra cash printing was an informal discussion and now that the National Security is going through it, he would prefer to wait or speak in the presence of his lawyer.
He, however, confirmed his resignation from the bank about a week ago.
He said he had packed out of his office as well as his official residence for whoever is taking over from him.
Dr Asiama tendered in his disengagement letter – copied to President Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Governor of the central bank and the Minister of Finance – on December 22, last year, and had said his resignation was taking effect from January 1, 2018.
“I wish to submit my disengagement letter, from the post of 2nd Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana, with effect from January 1, 2018,” Dr Asiama stated and added, “I have enjoyed working with the new team for the past one year, and I remain optimistic on the prospects for the economy.”
He expressed his gratitude “for the opportunity to serve in the capacity,” adding, “I still stand ready to assist in any role in support of your vision for the development of the country.”
It is turning out that Dr Asiama was the BoG official who appeared to have been used by elements in the Mahama-led NDC administration to facilitate the printing of the GH¢1 billion, which secret deal was aborted as the official printers didn’t show any interest.
In its desperate bid to hang on to power by any means, the NDC had purportedly devised various means aimed at winning the 2016 elections.
The deal, involved the printing of GH¢50 notes to the tune of GH¢1 billion, however, failed to go through at the eleventh hour because the official printer of Ghana’s currency in Europe – Crane – allegedly refused to get involved, citing criminality.
The NDC had intended to flood the market with the extra cash – passing it through non-conventional means – for vote buying purposes in clear breach of the BoG Regulations.
The NDC operatives reportedly cooked the deal from the Flagstaff House in Accra.
However, it is not clear whether the Governor at the time, Dr Abdul Nashiru Issahaku – a close associate of then President Mahama – sanctioned the criminal idea, but according to sources, one of his deputies was neck-deep in the shady deal in collaboration with some senior appointees at the presidency at the time.
The National Security is now investigating the matter.
The Flagstaff House elements at all material times were using the said deputy governor as the conduit for the alleged criminal deal; and did not want it to go through the official banking processes of currency printing.
The huge amount was all supposed to be in GH¢50 denomination as insisted by the Flagstaff House kingpins, although the man purportedly engaged to undertake the dubious deal, a certain Nigerian whose name was given as Lukman Lawal, had advised that the printing should be done in smaller denominations like GH¢5 to avoid detection.
Our checks gathered that the said Lawal met officials of Crane – a Swedish firm believed to be in-charge of printing Ghana’s currency – several times in Geneva, Switzerland, and London ahead of the supposed printing, but the key official agent between Ghana and the printing firm refused, insisting it was a criminal deal.
Later when the deputy governor was queried about the whole deal, he allegedly claimed that pressure was mounted on him from the presidency and mentioned a top Mahama aide, who is a former manager of a radio station, as one of the people behind the deal.
According to sources, the Nigerian was going to fly his private jet from Houston, Texas, United States, to meet the Crane officials and fly the money to Africa and would eventually use Ghana’s presidential jet to transfer it into the country from Nigeria – without the approval of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
By William Yaw Owusu