Struggling Amidu Reveals US$4 Million Has Been Blown On Agyapa Deal So Far

US$4 Million Has Been Blown On Agyapa Deal US$4 Million Has Been Blown On Agyapa Deal

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who is struggling in his corruption risk assessment on the controversial Agyapa deal, has revealed that the Finance Ministry, has so far blown some US$4 million on the transaction advisors involved in the deal with three more phases to go.

The revelations come, as many remain skeptical about the approach adopted by Mr Amidu in probing the transaction described as one of the nation's biggest corruption scandals in its history.

Many parts of the transaction, which will eventually lead to Ghana making US$500 million through 49percent shares to be floated on the London Stock Exchange and the Ghana Stock Exchange, have been shrouded in secrecy.

The appointments of the advisors were also done in secret. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, has described it as opaque and suggested it makes nonsense of Ghana's law and its judicial system.

The company is registered in the British Island Jersey, known for tax evasion and other criminal activities.

The first the appointment of the CEO of Agyapa, is the son of Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, Kofi Bomsomtwe Osafo-Marfo.

He currently works for the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) as its Deputy Director General in-charge of Investments.

Neither Kofi Osafo-Marfo nor the Board of Directors of the company, can be fired should the majority shareholder; the government of Ghana, deem it fit to.

It is a story which involves award of contracts to family members of President Akufo-Addo in the person of Gabby Asare-Ochtere Darko, where his law firm Africa Legal Associate, was awarded part of the legal advisory job on the deal and got paid US$105,000.

Gabby had told The Herald he got involved in the transaction by virtue of his links to the UK-based law firm White and Case, but his story has since changed to getting involved in the transaction through a different company.

Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, also got aspects of the legal job.

Other aspects of the transaction went to the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta's privately owned company, Data Bank in a classic case of conflict of interest.

The Herald has also discovered that another company called, Imara Corporate Finance (PTY) Limited based in South Africa, which Ken Ofori-Atta has interest in, also took part in the transaction.

The name of one Samuel Boafo-Arko, has also popped up and linked to one of the brains behind the deal.

He got flown into Ghana by the Finance Ministry to pose as an expert on the deal and was paid some huge amount of money, although he did nothing on the transaction.

Many feel that Mr Amidu, should have dealt with these companies before proceeding to the Finance Ministry.

Additionally, there is also a feeling that Mr Amidu, should have engaged mineral law experts like Fui Tsikata and Kofi Ansah, as well as the Civil Society groups, who have raised red flags of the deal before rushing to the Finance Ministry.

Meanwhile, Mr Amidu, has blamed the delay in completing the corruption risk assessment into the Agyapa Royalties deal on the failure of the Finance Ministry and its Deputy Minister, Charles Adu Boahen, to release documents covering the deal to his office.

The Special Prosecutor, had commenced corruption risk assessment into the controversial deal, but says the Finance Ministry has stonewalled him.

The Ministry of Finance, has already served notice that the government will not proceed with the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the Agyapa Royalties deal until the Special Prosecutor concludes the ongoing corruption risk assessment.

In an exclusive interview with Citi News' Umaru Sanda Amadu on Friday, October 9, 2020, Mr Amidu, said the attitude of the Finance Ministry makes the publication of the report on the assessment an uncertainty.

He wrote to the Finance Ministry asking "for them to give us the full payments made to the Ministry of Finance to these transaction advisors since the contract began in 2018 and also to the international service providers."

Mr. Amidu added that "the last time I sent them a reminder was on 7th of October… nothing [no response] has come."

The transaction advisors have a success fee of $4 million for the first phase of the agreement ahead of three more phases.

"We wanted them to give us all the payments made through approved banking channels to show us how much has gone into the transaction so that once and for all, we can make an assessment based upon the quantum of money being paid."

"That is why we are telling him [Deputy Finance Minister] to give us the evidence that the quantum you have paid is not substantial. I haven't had a reply and that is the only thing holding the assessment report."

He said his outfit "intended it [the assessment] to be out by the end of September."

But, according to him, "the stonewalling and delays have come from the Ministry of Finance, particularly the Deputy Minister [Adu Boahen]. He is the one who has held us up."

Mr Amidu did not, however, disclose whether he would make the assessment public when it is completed.

"When I finish it, what the law requires me to do is what I will do," he said.

The Agyapa deal is a by-product of the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act.

In 2018, Parliament passed the Act 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 Investment 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 $750 million for the government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects.

The Special Prosecutor had earlier written to the Speaker of Parliament demanding further information on the Agyapa deal.

The deal has generated public discourse with some Civil Society Organizations vowing to reject the agreement claiming it is a total rip-off.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com