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Agyapa Deal Has Ghana’s Interest At Heart – Godfred Dame

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The Minister for Justice and Attorney General-designate, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has assured the people of Ghana that the Agyapa transaction to monetize some of Ghana’s gold royalties was done in the national interest and in accordance with the laws of the land.

With over two hours of his marathon six hours and forty five-minute vetting devoted to Agyapa Royalties. Mr Yeboah Dame took his time to argue that the Finance Minister, his Deputy and promoters of Agyapa were unfairly criticized in the controversial report of the Special Prosecutor.

Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, who is also a lawyer, seemed visibly surprised when the nominee stated that Mr Martin Amidu did not interview Ken Ofori-Atta, his deputy, Charles Adu Boahen and anybody else involved with the transaction before he concluded his damning report on the transaction in October last year.

Mr Yeboah Dame told the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Friday that, at every step of the way, the Ministry of Finance and, for that matter government, put the interest of the nation first and not the interests of any individual, organization or group of persons.

“Mr. Chairman, with all respect, I don’t see any vitiating factor with regard to the transaction,” he said.

*Signing Authority*

The Special Prosecutor, on his own, called for documents covering the transaction and completed, what he called an anti-corruption risk and risk of corruption assessment on the deal done under the mandate of the Minerals Income Investment Fund(MIIF), which was set up by an Act of Parliament passed in 2018.

The former Deputy Attorney under President Akuffo-Addo’s first term, invited parliamentarians to ignore the indicting aspects of the report because the whole exercise was undertaken not as a criminal investigation but an “assessment” and one that breached the basic natural justice rule of allowing the one under scrutiny to be heard.

He described Mr Amidu’s report as a mere “opinion” of no direct legal effect.

Addressing one of the observations of the report, which has to do with whether or not the country’s laws were breached because the Deputy Minister for Finance then, Charles Adu Boahen, was the one who signed for and on behalf of government, instead of the substantive Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta.

Quoting from statutes, Mr Yeboah Dame explained that the law gives authority to the Finance Minister to allow his deputy or any other person not below the rank of Director that the Minister may authorize.

“The capacity to execute a financial agreement, has been indicated in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016(Act, 921). In there, you find that Mr. Chairman, the capacity is given to the Minister for Finance or any person that the Minister for Finance may authorize,” Godfred Dame stated.

“In the light of this, it becomes quite clear that the Deputy Minister for Finance, if he was authorized by the Minister for Finance, has full capacity to enter into the agreement,” the Attorney General-designate added.

*Parliamentary Approval Not Required*

A major subject of disagreement pertaining to the corruption risk assessment carried out by the then Special Prosecutor(SP), is his findings that the Mandate Agreement between the lead transaction advisor, Imara, and its local partner, Databank Group, was unconstitutional because it should be treated as “an international transaction” and, by that, required the approval of Parliament.

The AG nominee. Disagreed, arguing that the transaction advisory role was not the main transaction but an agreement to build the structure and building blocks towards the ultimate objective of listing the Agyapa Royalties company on both the London and Accra stock markets.

“I will submit finally that to the extent that Parliament had considered and approved the substantive agreement itself, the primary agreement being the Minerals Royalties Agreement, other agreements like the approval of a transaction advisor ought not to have come before this honourable house for approval,” the learned Minister for Justice-designate told the 26 members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

The vetting spent time to exhaust that issue, with varying interpretations put on the Supreme Court decision that only “major international transactions” should come to the House for approval.

Mr Yeboah Dame maintained that a contract to facilitate the main transaction cannot be viewed as a major transaction regardless of the fees.

Imara and its local partner, Databank, stood to earn a percentage of the amount raised for the listing as success fee capped at $4m to be shared between the two.

Imara is on a $15,000 monthly retainer, which the contract states will be deducted from the success fee at the end of Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Databank’s partnership deal with Imara excluded the Ghanaian entity from the monthly retainer, and billed to be paid at the end of the floatation in success fee.

He reminded the House that on a regular annual basis, the transaction advisors involved in Eurobond issuance or facilitators of loan agreements ordinarily get paid a percentage of the total amount, which can be easily more than the $4m involved here and yet it is accepted as not at all necessary to present such incidentals deals to Parliament.

Mr Yeboah Dame, who was also a member of the board of the Public Procurement Authority(PPA) took issue with the SP, who resigned last November, for raising issues with the Request for proposal(rfp), which allowed any of the shortlisted companies approved by the PPA to have a local partner.

Mr Yeboah Dame, who sat on the PPA board over the previous term, saw nothing irregular about it.

He also defended Databank’s reputation over the last 30 years and their ability to have worked with virtually all governments based on merit.

This came in when the issue of potential conflict of interest was raised because Ken Ofori-Atta is a co-founder of the investment bank and Ghana’s leading securities company.

*Fair Hearing*

Godfred Yeboah Dame faulted the Office of the SP and its former Chief Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, for breaking the rules of natural justice, when it refused to give all persons implicated in his corruption risk assessment a fair hearing before he reached his conclusions in his report.

*Background*

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.

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh

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NPP, NDC Agree To Remain Peaceful After Petition Verdict – Government

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Government says it has reached an agreement with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to do everything possible to maintain the stability enjoyed in the country ahead of the pronouncement of the verdict in the ongoing 2020 election petition hearing.

According to the President’s representative at the Information Ministry, this was one of the resolutions reached at a high-powered delegation from both sides at a meeting on February 25, 2021.

The consultative meeting of 30 participants including top security hierarchy and chaired by Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare was hosted by the National Security Ministry.

Former President John Mahama is currently in court seeking to annul the results of the December 7 election over irregularities which he believes saw Nana Akufo-Addo emerge President.

After weeks of arguments at the Supreme Court by lawyers for the petitioner and respondents, the apex court is set to deliver judgment on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

The statement signed by Kojo Oppong Nkrumah indicated that both parties agreed to trigger measures to prevent their party faithful from fueling chaos after the Supreme Court declaration.

“Regarding the on-going election petition, all parties committed to the
need to preserve the peace in the aftermath of the verdict by urging their
supporters to exercise restraint and desist from any provocative acts that could undermine law and order.”

The meeting was generally geared towards reviewing “the security arrangements put in place for the conduct of the elections and expressed divergent concerns about the events that characterized the collation and declaration of the results.”

While calling for closure to election-related violence that characterised the 2020 general election through investigation and sanctioning of perpetrators, the gathering further called on the Police Service to “improve upon the policing of election materials in future elections.”

“The parties called for thorough investigations into the incidents that marred the peaceful conduct and declaration of the results notably in Odododiodoo, Savlegu, Ablekuma Central, Sefwi Wiawso, and Techiman South constituencies among others.”

The March 1 statement further reiterated the “need to continue the political and security dialogue in the best interest of the country.”

Also present at the meeting were; the Presidential Advisor on Security, Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Okyere (Rtd), Albert Kan-Dapaah, the
President’s Representative at the Ministry of National Security, Ambrose
Dery, the President’s Representative at the Ministry of Interior, Freddie Blay and John Boadu, NPP Chairman and General Secretary respectively.

The NDC was also represented by Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, former Minister for National Security, Lt Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (Rtd), Former National Security Coordinator and Director for Operations, Capt (GN) Baffour Assasie-Gyimah, former Deputy National Security Advisor and Mr. Kofi Attoh, National Vice Chairman. Also, in attendance were the IGP James Oppong-Buanuh and the CDS Rear Admiral Seth Amoama.

Source: MyJoyonline

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I Couldn’t Chew Ballot Papers Because Of My Nose Mask; ‘Shameful’ Carlos Ahenkorah Finally Explains Ballot Snatching

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Tema West lawmaker, Carlos Ahenkorah has explained why he ‘disgracefully’ snatched ballot papers during the voting of a Speaker for the 8th Parliament on January 7, this year.

Speaking on UTV’s Morning Show he indicated that contrary to reports, he was unable to chew the ballot papers due to the nose mask he was wearing.

“The NDC came with a certain mind, a certain mindset and that is what they wanted to achieve and nothing was going to stop them,” he was quoted by ghanaweb.

He continued: “I realised that after the counting of the ballot papers, voting has been established and everything is finished,” Ahenkorah said trying to justify why he decided to go and snatch the papers for voting to start all over again so that the NPP side can ensure that the whip system is restored to enable them to get the 138 votes.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the kind of support Muntaka got from his people….”

GhanaFeed.com

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Twitter Reacts To Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s Rejection By The Appointments Committee

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Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, jumped to the top spot of social media trends last night after he was rejected by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Information indicates that the nominations of Oppong Nkrumah, Hawa Koomson and Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto have been rejected by the committee after their vetting.

The reports state that Oppong Nkrumah was rejected because some committee members believe he was dishonest with his answers on some key issues.

One issue that cost him outright disapproval was his connection with television station MX24.

It is believed that while Oppong Nkrumah denied any affiliation with the media house, some members of the committee are firm in their conviction that he is the owner of the company.

His role in the contempt charge of former Deputy Attorney General Dominic Ayine by the seven justices of the Supreme Court sitting on the 2020 election petition has also been cited as a reason for his rejection.

Below are some reactions from Twitter to the news about Mr Nkrumah’s Rejection.

Source: GhanaWeb

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