Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has denied claims that the Agyapa Royalties deal, which has been approved by Parliament, was not transparent.
He told Alfred Ocansey on News 360 on TV3 Tuesday, August 25 that the full document was laid before Parliament for a whole debate on it on the floor.
Therefore, he said claims that the deal has not been transparent is inaccurate.
His comments come after a group of civil society organizations (CSOs) led by Dr Steve Manteaw, Chair of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, accused the government of shrouding the deal in secrecy.
Dr Manteaw noted the deal was rushed and also lacked transparency.
He 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.”
“Under the current arrangement, with the Mineral Income Investment Act, we do not see any such transparency, accountability and public oversight arrangement. So it makes it very risky and prone to elite capture and abuse.”
When asked whether the government will suspend the deal following the concerns raised by the CSOs, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said: “Suspend because of what?
“The full documentation has been made available to Parliament. Nobody hid this transaction. We took everything to Parliament and we had a full blown debate. Instead of people, with the greatest of respect, focusing on the debate they were focusing on side issues like a comment I made and that was what captured the headline.
“But the full document as put on the table in Parliament if somebody requires some more answers, I think it is fair to say can we get some more clarification on this?
“I think we are beginning to mix a number of things that don’t conform with how we govern this country. This transaction has been transparent from Day 1.”
Ghana’s legislature approved the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement Friday, August 14 despite a protest from the Minority.
Based on the agreement, Agyapa Royalties Limited (ARL) will trade shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for private people to buy. But the Mineral Income Investment Fund(MIIF) will remain the majority shareholder.
ARL will raise between $500 million and $750 milion for government to use for developmental initiatives, and then future resources from gold royalties will go to ARL shareholders instead of the Mineral Investment Fund and for that matter government.
Essentially, government is mortgaging expected royalties from gold in exchange for about $500 million – $750 million from ARL.
The Minority said the deal makes it impossible for a future government to replace managers of Agyapa Royalties Limited although the Minerals Income Investment Fund will remain the majority shareholder.
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has since questioned the deal and said he will not recognize it in case he wins this year’s polls.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana