A summary of the issues against the AGYAPA royalties deal

Yesterday, fifteen (15) individual civil society organisations and groups which were organized under the broad fraternity of “Alliance of CSOs Working on Extractives, Anti-corruption, and Good Governance” took the Agyapa debate a notch higher when they called for a suspension of the implementation of the MIIF.

The sum of their demand is that they want all the documents relating to the establishment of the Agyapa Royalties Limited, and its beneficial owners to be “disclosed” before government continues with the implementation of the deal.

Now, about 10 days ago, parliament approved five agreements to basically hedge gold royalties of the country through Agyapa Royalties Limited, technically referred to as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). 

The passage of the agreements became a divisive matter to the extent that the minority boycotted proceedings, having strongly argued that the agreements amounted to mortgaging proceeds from the mineral wealth of the country.

It is important to note that Agyapa Royalties Limited is incorporated in Jersey, a United Kingdom dependent country that is a known tax haven. The government of Ghana has 51% interest, while fund managers (FM) have 49% interest, according to the Agreement. 

Corruption Watch has identified several key issues but this morning our focus will be on issues relating to deficits in the procurement process as well as deficits in transparency and public accountability. 

The first key issue that Corruption Watch has identified relates to deficit in the procurement process that was adopted. There are questions around conflict of interest and alleged nepotism that the procurement processes used in this transaction appear to have overlooked. For instance, there is a major concern around the handpicking of the transaction advisers and legal intermediaries by the government, especially because these are politically exposed persons.

In the case of Kofi Osafo Maafo, the son of the senior minister, the issue people have really is not simply because he is the son of Senior Minister, Mr.Yaw Osafo-Maafo. The key question is how did he get selected? The same question holds for the transaction advisors, which include the law firm of Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the president’s cousin.

On the question of transparency and public accountability, issues have been raised around what appears to be the lack of, or inadequate consultations on the bill that eventually passed into the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, (2018), Act 978, with its 2020 amendments. Civil society actors, for instance, argue that the Act is being implemented in an opaque manner with relatively weak transparency and public oversight arrangements. 

A key concern of civil society is that it beats their imagination as to why an entity, without a corporate strategy, and approved spending plans, will proceed to raise $1 billion and cede US$500 million to government in indecent haste, especially when there is no known national emergency to warrant such rush. 

Source: Frederick Asiamah

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