Civil Society Calls For Criminal Probe & Prosecution Into Agyapa Deal

Ken Ofori Atta and Dr Steve Manteaw Ken Ofori Atta and Dr Steve Manteaw

The Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas groups working in the extractive industry, has asked the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, to lunch a criminal investigation into the Agyapa deal and prosecute any evidence of corrupt act in accordance with his prosecutorial mandate.

Dr. Steve Manteaw, also called for the total abrogation of the Agyapa agreement, following the corruption risk assessment done by the Special Prosecutor.

He, however, claimed that the civil society organizations against the deal, do not have any basis to call for the sacking of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, over the agreement insisting it is only when a court of competent jurisdiction makes a pronouncement against the deal that the CSOs, will start to call for certain actions which may include sacking.

"It is only when a court of competent jurisdiction has found him guilty that we now can begin to call for certain actions which may include, in the event of the Finance Minister being found guilty, his removal. At this stage, we do not have enough grounds to call for his removal," Dr. Manteaw told TV3 in an interview after a press conference organised by the CSOs on the deal on Wednesday November 11.

Speaking during the main press conference, he noted that the Agyapa Royalties agreement is bad and should be cancelled.

The CSOs believe merely suspending the deal and directing it to be resent to Parliament at a later date does not cure the several breaches that have been occasioned, adding the abrogation of the deal will open up a more consultative process that will protect Ghana's mineral resources.

"The Special Prosecutor's report also falls short of recommending actions to cure the potential illegalities and the process breaches outlined in the report.

"While we commend the president for acting on the report, we hold the view that the action directed by the president is inadequate and not sustainable.

"The deal is defective beyond repairs.

"There are potential breaches on various laws, the Public Procurement Act and Financial Management Act."

"In this regard, we challenge the OSP to take the next logical step to investigate and prosecute any evidence of corrupt acts in accordance with his prosecutorial mandate.

"The abrogation of the Agyapa transaction should lay the grounds for a more open and consultative process for options and solutions to getting the best value for our mineral resources," Dr. Manteaw said at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, November 11.

The Special Prosecutor, concluded his assessment of the Agyapa Mineral Royalties agreement and accordingly submitted his report to the president. He cited cronyism, bid-rigging, nepotism and insider trading saying

"...In an analysis of the risk of corruption, and anti-corruption assessment, this is a fundamental issue of individual interest, greed, lack of ethicality and morality in public office, and not simply of conflict of interest merely."

According to the Special Prosecutor, the agreements submitted to parliament by the Finance Minister, surrenders "the sovereignty of Ghana over its gold mineral resources in perpetuity" and this also "contravenes the sovereignty of the people of Ghana under Article 1 and for whose welfare the powers of the government are to be exercised".

The OSP further states that there was no basis for arriving at the valuation of all mineral resources at the agreed price of 1Billion US Dollars. "The one billion dollars (the Royal Value) has not been demonstrated to be based on any rational evaluation of the sovereign gold resources under the agreements held in trust for and on behalf of the chiefs and people of Ghana as a patrimony for generations unborn."

Mr Martin Amidu concludes that "…In an analysis of the risk of corruption, and anti-corruption assessment, this is a fundamental issue of individual interest, greed, lack of ethicality and morality in public office, and not simply of conflict of interest merely. This opaque arrangement in the contract negotiation process not arising out of the Public

Procurement Authority approval is what made the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment conclude that the process of the selection of the Transaction Advisor(s) disclosed a reasonable suspicion of bid-rigging and corruption activity including the potential for illicit financial flows and money laundering in the arrangement of how the fees payable to Databank of Ghana as the decoy which was not approved under the Public Procurement Authority Act, 2003 (Act 663 as amended) are to be made."

President Akufo-Addo, accordingly asked the Finance Minister to return the deal to Parliament for it to be reworked on following the assessment done on it by the Special Prosecutor.

But the CSOs believe merely suspending the deal and directing it to be resent to Parliament at a later date does not cure the several breaches that have been occasioned.

"The Special Prosecutor's report also falls short of recommending actions to cure the potential illegalities and the process breaches outlined in the report.

"While we commend the president for acting on the report, we hold the view that the action directed by the president is inadequate and not sustainable.

"The deal is defective beyond repairs.

"There are potential breaches on various laws, the Public Procurement Act and Financial Management Act."

Source: www.theheraldghana.com