- The Agyapa Deal has been criticized by anti-corruption crusaders who want it terminated
- Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu said the deal was designed to facilitate illicit financial flows and money laundering
- Ken Ofori-Atta, however, disagreed
Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta, has taken a dig at the former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, describing his report on the controversial Agyapa transaction as “conjectures” that are inimical to growth.
Amidu flagged the deal after conducting a corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment report on it in 2020.
He said in his report that there was reasonable suspicion of “bid-rigging and corruption” as well as the likelihood for “illicit financial flows and money laundering” in selecting the deal’s transaction advisor(s).
He resigned as the country’s special prosecutor following the report, citing threats to his life and a series of traumatic experiences.
Commenting on the report when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, March 25, Ofori-Atta said the decision by the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice to put out the report without allowing him to respond was a disservice to him.
“Mr. Chairman, I think I mentioned a fundamental flaw in the approach that the OSP took with regards to whether he gave us a chance to respond or not. And, I think that it should be of keen interest to the House…as a rule of law. And, so, to then go on to accept, acknowledge a document in which your citizens were not able to give their views on that I think is something that we should not encourage,” he stated.
“I do not feel that we broke any rule and I think the AG will be able to give you a firm assessment on that. I think such conjectures are inimical to growth and do not help the kind of freedom of policy orientation and innovation that will require for this country to grow,” Ofori-Atta added.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said his administration would return the controversial Agyapa transaction to Parliament.
Parliament on August 14, 2020, approved the controversial deal despite a walkout by the Minority.
The approval would enable the country to use a special purpose vehicle, Agyapa Royalties Limited, to secure about $1 billion to finance large infrastructural projects.
The Attorney General’s office in 2020 declared that the agreement was not in the interest of Ghana.
The office further added it was unclear what benefits “will come to the Republic of Ghana and the fund other than the one-off payment”, considering that the agreement runs in perpetuity with stringent responsibilities of the fund throughout its lifespan.
That notwithstanding, the former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, never opposed the controversial deal, Godfred Dame said.
“I am indicating for the record that the former Attorney General [Gloria Akuffo] was never opposed to the transaction and that is clear in all the documents available to me,” Dame stated during his vetting as Attorney General and Minister for Justice nominee on Friday, February 12, 2021.
Meanwhile, investment bank, Databank withdrew from the deal as transaction advisors.
The Group CEO of Databank, Kojo Addae-Mensah, said that the tumult generated grossly compromises the ability of the firm to execute such a market-sensitive and novel transaction, hence, the withdrawal.
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