Agyapa deal is best for Ghana – Ayikoi Otoo

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Former Attorney General Nii Ayikoi Otoo has said it is not the best for anyone to suggest that the Agyapa deal should not be brought back.

The Former High Commissioner to Canada told TV3’s Dzifa Bampoh in an interview that there is a general agreement that Ghana has not derived value for money from mining hence, the need to leverage on best practices that will benefit the country.

“I don’t think that generally people are against because we have all agreed that it does not appear that we are getting value from all these mining  companies that we find so, why don’t we find the way of leveraging on it  to get something for us.

“If the Minority thinks that by forming a company and putting certain names there is like you are trying to do friends and family business,” he said.

He added “They started by attacking certain personalities whose names appeared that once we have seen these names it is family and friends.

“To say that we should not bring it anymore, I don’t think it is the best way to go. I strongly support it, I think that this is the best way to go.”

The Agyapa deal has met opposition from the Minority in Parliament.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said during a debate on the 2022 Budget Statement that the Minority were going to kick against attempts to re-lay the deal before Parliament.

According to him, the government was attempting to collateralize Ghana’s resources hence their rejection.

“We will not support President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to bring back to this August House that baby called Agyapa. Ey3 Agyaboni [to wit; it is a bad deal]. We will not accept it.”

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta had earlier announced on Tuesday October 12 that the Agyapa Transaction will return to Parliament after the House has resumed sitting.

He told journalists that the “Attorney General has looked at the agreement” hence decision to the return the deal.

“The Attorney General has looked at it, we have had a few stakeholder meetings. I think the new board should be energized to review that and then go through the Parliamentary process. I am unequivocal that it is the way to go in terms of monetizing our minerals and finding a way to the level of debt that the country has,” he said after inaugurating the new board of the Ghana Minerals Income Investment Fund.

The agreement, which was approved by the Seventh Parliament on Friday, August 14, 2020, had to be withdrawn after a corruption-risk assessment was conducted by then Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu.

Resigning a few days afterwards, the Special Prosecutor accused President Akufo-Addo of interfering in his assessment on the deal under the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978).

“The reaction I received for daring to produce the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption report convinces me beyond any reasonable doubt that I was not intended to exercise any independence as the Special Prosecutor in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and recovery of assets of corruption,” Mr Amidu said in his resignation letter to the president.

The Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, replied the resignation letter and said a mere meeting between the president and a Special Prosecutor cannot be said to be interference.

“Your accusation of interference with your functions simply on account of the meeting the president held with you is perplexing. In exercise of what you considered to be your powers under Act 959, you had voluntarily proceeded to produce the Agyapa Report.

“The president had no hand in your work. Without prompting from any quarter within the Executive, you delivered a letter purporting to be a copy of you report to the president.

“The purpose of presenting a copy of the Agyapa report to the president is decipherable from paragraph 32 of your letter to the president in which you indicated that you hoped the report will be ‘used to improve current and future legislative and executive actions to make corruption and corruption-related offences very high risk enterprise in Ghana’.”

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) also rejected the previous agreement when it was first introduced on the floor of parliament.

Ghana’s legislature approved the controversial agreement on  Friday, August 14 despite a protest from the Minority.

A group of CSOs led by Dr  Steve Manteaw noted that the government of Ghana and Parliament rushed in approving the agreement.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, August 25, Dr Manteaw said: “What we are telling government is let’s slow down…let’s have more transparency, more consensus building around the approach before we go forward with the approach.

“I don’t know of any national emergency that warrants that we should rush the process to raise funds for development.”

On Tuesday, March 9, President Akufo-Addo hinted of sending the deal back to Parliament for re-consideration.

In his first state-of-the-nation address to that Parliament on Tuesday, March 9, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said “in the course of this session of Parliament, Government will come back to engage the House on the steps it intends to take on the future of the Agyapa transaction”.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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