Blame the law: SEC explains inability to punish severely

Blame the law: SEC explains inability to punish severely
Source: Ghana | | George Nyavor |
Date: 12-09-2019 Time: 02:09:50:pm
Rev Dr Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh is SEC boss

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has parried suggestions that it deliberately treats persons and institutions that breach financial laws with kid’s glove.

SEC Director-General, Rev Dr Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, said contrary to accusations that the Commission is failing in its mandate, it always works within ambit its legal framework.

“As a regulator, you have to work within your enabling act. If I take my enabling act, for instance, you find that the penalty unit I can apply depending on the sanctions, the highest will be about 4,500 penalty units,” he said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Joy Business Financial Services Forum.

A penalty unit equals GHS12, hence the highest fine the SEC can slap on person or group that commits a financial offence is ¢54,000.

Dr Ogbarmey-Tetteh’s comment was in reaction to an earlier submission by banking consultant, Dr Richmond Atuahene, that punishment meted out to groups or persons that commit financial offence was not punitive enough.

Dr Atuahene cited an example in the United States where HSBC was fined millions of dollars the regulator, confident that a similar punishment was long overdue in Ghana.

However, SEC boss said his outfit has been granted the power to fine heavily.

“My hands are tied because that is the enabling legislation,” he said.

Cracks in Ghana’s financial sector started in 2015, leading the start of a major clean-up in August 2017. The clean up significantly reduced the number of financial institutions in the country.

Although some GHS14 billion has been spent in the clean-up that was recently completely, many blame regulators, the SEC and Bank of Ghana, for the not enforcing existing laws or not being punitive enough when applying sanctions.

The 3rd Joy Business Financial Service Forum held at the Labadi Beach Hotel enabled thought leaders in the financial sector to make policy proposals that can strengthen the sector.

Watch more in the video below.