Investment and brokerage firm, Databank has reneged on its decision to partner Imara Holding Limited with services as a partner and transaction advisor in the controversial Agyapa royalties deal.
In a letter addressed to Imara Holding Limited and signed by the Group CEO of Databank, Kojo Addae-Mensah, it explained that their decision to withdraw follows several attacks on their reputation by political actors as a result of the Finance Minister’s association with the investment firm.
“The Board of Directors of Databank has observed with deep concern persistent attempts by some political actors, during the political season leading up to the general elections of December 2020, to tarnish our hard-won reputation painstakingly built over the last 30 years, by unfairly exploiting our participation and involvement in the transaction as one of the transaction advisors. We believe this is principally due to the Minister of Finance’s association with Databank as its co-founder.
“The Board of Databank, whilst being convinced about the immeasurable benefits to be reaped by the Republic of Ghana from the transaction, is of the view that the tumult generated by the involvement of Databank in the transaction, coupled with insinuations and aspersions cast on the reputation of the company in the lead up to the election, not only grossly compromises the ability to execute such a market-sensitive and novel transaction, but also has a real tendency to severely damage the invaluable business reputation of Databank”.
Although the company noted that the action was a hard decision to be made, it said it had to do that to safeguard its hard-won reputation.
“It is this deep market knowledge and extensive experience that makes us understand that the potential damage from the fall out of all the negative press regarding Databank’s involvement in the Agyapa transaction, especially the proposed IPO, despite our sterling track record over the years, is incalculable both in the domestic and international financial markets.
“The reasons expressed above have compelled us to take the hard-decision to formally withdraw our services as your partner and co-transaction advisor on this mandate”.
It will be recalled that government then, through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), set up Agyapa Royalties Limited to securitize Ghana’s gold royalties. This was after Parliament had approved the Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana despite the walkout by the Minority.
In discussion, the company planned to raise between $500 million and $750 million for the Government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects. The move has since been heavily criticized as the government has directed that further discussions on it be suspended.
Several actors including CSOs called for the withdrawal of the deal including the Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani who also requested the dismissal of the Finance Minister.
Speaking in an interview, the Flagbearer said the report by the Special Prosecutor on the corruption risk assessment did not augur well for the Finance Minister and tarnishes the reputation of the government if it fails to relieve him [Finance Minister] of his job.
The report by the Special Prosecutor disclosed that, the selection and appointment of advisors for the agreement did not meet the fundamentals of probity, transparency and accountability.