Contrary to claims that the Agyapa royalties transaction has been suspended by the Ministry of Finance, the ministry says the deal is still on course.
The ministry has therefore urged the public to reject claims that the transaction has been suspended.
There were media reports that the transaction had been abrogated following a meeting with some civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country.
However, according to the ministry, in a statement released by its public relations unit, even though such a meeting was held on September 2, it never came up that the deal had been suspended.
“The Ministry wishes to state that the Agyapa Royalties transaction has not been suspended as is being reported on the Ghanaweb portal. We wish to also state that Mr Mark Agyemang, Technical Manager of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, who is purported to have said this in an interview with Starr FM, was not in this meeting,” the statement said.
It continued: “the main outcome of the meeting, as acknowledged by both sides, was that the government had fulfilled the requirements of the law. There was, however, the need for broader consultations to ensure the buy-in of all Ghanaians.”
“The meeting with the CSOs was one such consultation and the Ministry agreed with them to further broaden the consultations and to solicit further input from them and other Ghanaian constituencies going forward.
“A number of concerns raised by the CSOs included registration of the entity in a tax haven, transparency, how the values were arrived and what the country stood to benefit from the Agyapa Royalty Transaction. After their concerns were aptly addressed by the Hon. Minister for Finance and his Deputy, they called on government to engage other institutions and stakeholders. At no point was there any suggestion that the transaction is being halted as being reported,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, maintains that government has been transparent with Ghanaians.
Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile on Saturday, he stated: “I am not sure what we did not give to the parliamentarians through the Finance Committee during the various meetings that we had. I don’t know what else is a mystery really about this transaction.”
“This has been, in effect, a 4-year process. I say four years because NDC had 2010 and 2011 in which they examined this module of paradigm and Parliament has been in discussions on the deal since 2018, so I don’t know why anybody can pretend that it has not been public,” he added.
Mr Ofori-Atta also denied claims that the Attorney General was not engaged in the processes.
He noted that the Attorney General, in her line of work, is privy to documents from Parliament, adding: “With Bills and Acts, we go to Parliament, to retreats; we go through things, they say no, we change. So, that dialogue, interpreted that the Attorney General is not part, is probably wrong,”
No conflict of interest
Mr Ofori-Atta also denied claims of nepotism or conflict of interest in the deal.
Concerns have been raised about the involvement of the law firm of a private legal practitioner, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Kofi Osafo Maafo, son of Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo and Databank
However, according to the Finance Minister, all the parties selected were based on merit.
He noted that his firm, for instance, has been in existence for a very long time and has a long-standing experience and reputation in investment.
“So, the President asks me to get involved in something and because I am his cousin, I will turn him down? What is this? We need to factor in skills and experience in our discussions,” he said.
He added: “Bank of America is the main advisor and they have their own law firm. Usually, these international law firms have an affiliate in Ghana and that’s where Gabby’s firm came in.
“I will tell you to rest at ease because the republic is always first in everything we do,” he added.