Ken Ofori Atta, Finance Minister designate has described leaking of the report on Agyapa deal after the assessment of former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu as a disservice to Ghana’s democracy.
He was responding to a question by minority leader Haruna Iddrissu during his vetting on Thursday, 25 March 2021 on how a revised Agyapa deal will be responsive to concerns raised by Ghanaians and Civil Society groups about the deal.
“I think really there is quite a bit of cynicism with that transaction and for me for such a report to be put out in the public without us (me as minister of Finance) having a chance to discuss it, I think is a disservice to our democracy,” he said.
Ofori Atta added “And that is such a fundamental right that I think we all as a people should be careful about such things and so the speculative issues and the risks associated with most transactions discussions and resubmission to parliament will enable us to rework those things.”
The Finance Minister designate asserted that risks are parts of every investment transaction including the Agyapa Royalties deal.
Parliament to be re-engaged on Agyapa deal
Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Tuesday 9 March, Akufo-Addo said the deal which was suspended last year will be revisited soon.
“Let me, at this point, assure the House that, in the course of this session of Parliament, Government will come back to engage the House on the steps it intends to take on the future of the Agyapa transaction,” Akufo-Addo served notice.
The announcement is coming barely a month after Databank withdrew from the controversial deal as transactional advisor. The decision, it says was based on attempt by certain persons to tarnish its reputation.
Earlier, some 15 civil society groups had called for the termination of the deal arguing that it lacks transparency.
In 2018, Parliament passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 which establishes the fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies and receive royalties on behalf of the government. The purpose of the fund is to manage and invest these royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.
The government then, through the Minerals Income Investments Fund(MIIF), set up Agyapa Royalties Limited to monetize Ghana’s gold royalties. This was after Parliament on August 14, 2020, approved the Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana despite the walkout by the minority.
In exchange, the company plans to raise between $500 million and up to about $1 billion for the government on the Ghana and London Stock Exchanges to invest in developmental projects.
The deal, however, has become a topical issue following concerns first by the opposition National Democratic Congress leading up to the December 2020 general elections.
On August 14, 2020, a few days after approving an amendment to the MIIF Act, the Minority walked out during the approval process of the very transaction agreements, the facilitation of which the amendment to the Fund’s statute was amended.
Civil society groups quickly added their voices to the opposition, describing the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), being created then, Agyapa Royalties of Jersey, as not being transparent, potentially corrupt, under valued and that it must be suspended for greater stakeholder involvement, according to some of the dissenting voice.
The government has however insisted that the deal is in the best interest of the country.
The President, last year, directed the Finance Minister and Attorney General to review the transaction agreements and make necessary adjustment to address some of the concerns raised by stakeholders, where appropriate.