Withdraw from ‘controversial’ Agyapa deal – Transparency International urges UK financial firms [ARTICLE]



According to Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana chapter of Transparency International, it submitted to the UK Financial Conduct Authority – and forwarded to J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch International and law firm White and Case – detailed concerns shared by a coalition of almost 30 Ghanaian and international civil society organisations that the deal smacks of corruption.

In a statement, it said: “There are serious red flags in how this deal was set up. Concerns have been raised by civil society actors around inadequate stakeholder consultation, transparency, and the valuation of the deal. Other concerns bother on the way transaction advisors became involved in the process and a lack of public oversight over the company at the heart of the deal. It is crucial for Ghana that the western financial institutions and regulators involved in this deal take these concerns seriously. They must not facilitate schemes that may end up plundering Ghana’s mineral resources in the name of investment.”

The controversial Agyapa deal which is a Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana has dominated the media landscape since Parliament approved it.

READ MORE: Martin Amidu gives chilling reasons why he resigned as the Special Prosecutor

The controversy over the Agyapa Royalties deal started on August 14, 2020, when the Majority of Members of Parliament secured the numbers to pass the agreement.

Although the Minority staged a walkout over the deal it was finally passed.

The government in July 2020 introduced an amendment to the Act to ensure that the SPVs that the Fund would establish to manage investments get unrestricted independence.

On the back of the amendment and the original provisions of the act, the Minerals Income Investment Fund set up an offshore limited liability company known as Agyapa Royalties Limited (previously Asaase Royalties Limited).

The Agyapa Royalties Ltd is incorporated in Bailieick of Jersey in the UK, a tax haven. It has been incorporated in a tax haven to cut out the associated high tax charges to the returns that will accrue to the state from the investments.

Agyapa Royalties Limited is registered in Ghana as an external company.

The former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu raised red flags over the risks of money laundering in the deal and possible bid-rigging in the contracting of advisors.

On Monday, November 16, 2020, Martin Amidu resigned from his office with immediate effect over interference in his work by the NPP-led government by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

He stated that the President of the Republic was interfering in the performance of his duties in relation to the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment on the controversial Agyapa Royalties Transaction.

He alleged that the President attempted to convince him to include a response from the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta in his report which he declined because “that would have compromised my independence as the Special Prosecutor.”

In his assessment report on the Agyapa deal, Amidu said the Transaction Advisor involved in the deal were susceptible to “nepotism, cronyism, and favouritism”.

He accused President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of being the main brain behind the deal.


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