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Agyapa deal: These are some of the issues Martin Amidu uncovered

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has completed a risk of corruption assessment of the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal.

The deal, according to the sponsors – the Finance Ministry – forms part of the many strategies it has adopted to beat the long-standing problem of lack of capital for developmental projects.

It involves securitising future flows of revenue with proceeds from Ghana’s extractive sector.

The corruption risk assessment became necessary after Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana called on the government to make public the data backing the deal.

Among other things, the CSOs said data that has been made available by the Finance Ministry as the projected revenue from Ghana’s extractive sector differs from the Chamber of Mines’.

The CSOs and other experts criticised the deal as non-transparent and rushed.

After the huge backlash that the deal generated, the Office of Special Prosecutor in September this year directed that a planned Initial Public Offer on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to set the agreement in motion be halted for a corruption risk assessment.

The following are some of the highlights of the problems the Office found with the deal after it announced the completion of its assessment on Monday, November 2, 2020.

– The Finance Ministry failed to secure parliamentary approval before selecting the Transaction Advisors.

“The analysis of the risk of corruption, and anti-corruption assessment in the bid selection process led to the assessment that the involvement of Imara Corporate Finance Limited (Pty) of South Africa in the Mandate Agreement as approved by the Public Procurement Authority made the Mandate Agreement an international business or economic transaction needing approval from Parliament under Article 181(5) which was never sought or given.

– There is reasonable suspicion of bid-rigging, and corruption activity including the potential for illicit financial flows and money laundering in the relationship between the Transaction Advisors and Databank of Ghana.

– The Transaction Advisors, Imara Corporate Finance Limited (Pty) seems to be an “opaque surrogate of both the Ministry of Finance and Databank Financial Services Limited playing the role of Transaction Advisors…”

– Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahen, breached the law (the Public Financial Management Act) when he purportedly signed the Mandate Agreement for and on behalf of the Republic of Ghana. The power to sign any contract on behalf of Ghana is vested in the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance.

– All the parties to the Mandate Agreement are deemed to have known the law but ignored it with impunity in signing and implementing the Mandate Agreement which is null and void as that action violates the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and the Public Procurement Authority Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended.

– The Ministry acted contrary to the Public Procurement Authority Act and the Public Financial Management Act in delegating the power to appoint services providers and/or other underwriters to the unlawfully appointed Transaction Advisor(s).

– The processes leading to the selection of Transaction Advisors make them susceptible to undue influence, favouritism, cronyism, nepotism, and all forms of discrimination.

– Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance as the Principal Spending Officer of the Ministry might have been sidestepped in the procurement processes or the commitment of the budgetary appropriation of the Ministry for the engagement of the Transaction Advisor(s) and other services providers for the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions.

– Due process was not followed in the decision to incorporate Agyapa Royalties Limited in Jersey, UK.

– The very nature of secrecy and confidentiality surrounding the Agreements and Indemnity Agreement, in particular, does not conduce to the prevention of corruption and fighting corruption in the extractive mineral sector.

 

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