The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has intimated that his office has been transparent with the Agyapa Royalties deal with regards to the processes that led to the approval of the deal from the onset.
His comment comes on the back of the corruption risk assessment report released by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, on the Agyapa deal, which raised red flags against the deal and insisted that a number of processes were deliberately sidestepped.
In his defence, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, however, rejected the conclusions made by the Special Prosecutor over the Agyapa deal.
In a memo to the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Minister insisted that the Attorney General and Parliament approved the agreement because of the right processes the deal went through.
“Prior to initiating the Transaction, Ministry of Finance ensured to undertake all the necessary prerequisite action required by law, from the procurement of transaction advisors, to the submission of transaction documents to the AG and Parliament for their review, input and approval.
“This Ministry believes that it has been transparent from the onset. Once Government had independently assessed the potential value of the Transaction to Ghana, and Cabinet had approved the policy to monetize future gold royalties to support current developmental projects, MoF included in the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement, Government’s intention to leverage the future wealth of Ghana’s gold resources to support current developmental needs.”
Also, with regards to Parliament’s approval for the Mandate Agreement, Mr. Ofori Atta noted that, the Finance Ministry did not seek parliamentary approval for the Mandate Agreement, because Ministry of Finance considered the role of Imara TA to be advisory, with regards to the structuring and the drafting of agreements for the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Agyapa on the London Stock Exchange, the main transaction whose agreements have all been submitted to Parliament for approval, and not to have economic impact anticipated by the Supreme Court in the Balkan Energy case.
“Similarly, MoF has not sought parliamentary approval for other international transaction advisory service agreements it has signed in the past, such as the engagement of international investment banks for Eurobond issuances, for example.”
He also insisted that, there is no justifiable reason for concluding that the current members of the Minerals Income Investment Funds (MIIF) Board will jeopardize their apparent professional integrity and reputations to engage in corrupt practices motivated by partisan considerations.
The Special Prosecutor’s corruption risk assessment into the controversial Agyapa Royalties was made public yesterday, Monday, 2nd November, 2020, two weeks after it was submitted to the Office of the President.
In his risk assessment, Mr. Amidu among other things raised concerns with the entire deal and processes prior to its approval by Parliament.
“All the parties to the Mandate Agreement are deemed to have known the law but ignored it with impunity in signing and implementing the Mandate Agreement which is null and void ab initio as violating the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and the Public Procurement Authority Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended.”
The Special Prosecutor also raised concerns with the appointment of transaction advisors for the deal saying that, laid down processes were disregarded by the Ministry.
He said the absence of any evidence of the approval of the Mandate Agreement by Parliament under Article 181(5) of the Constitution makes the appointment of the Transaction Advisors also unconstitutional, null and void, and sins against any positive analysis of the risk of corruption, and anti-corruption assessment in their handling of the Transactions.