The Minority’s Spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson, has said that his side of the House believes the Agyapa agreement that was prepared earlier was undervalued.
He said they are not prepared to accept a deal that is below 3.7billion dollars.
“Currently, the government is saying the valuation is a billion US dollars and we are selling 49 per cent out there to get about five hundred billion US dollars.
“We are saying, that is grossly undervalued and that will mean that government of Ghana has given taxpayers money of about 1.3billion US dollars away.
“We will not accept any valuation that is going to be under 3.7billion US dollars. We are not going to accept for government of Ghana to incorporate Ghana’s sovereign wealth fund in a tax haven, we will not accept that because are aware of its consequences and the fact that a lot of the activities in tax havens are not in a transparent manner,” the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam lawmaker former Deputy Minister of Finance told TV3’s Roland Walker on Thursday October 14.
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The agreement, which was approved by the Seventh Parliament on Friday, August 14, 2020, had to be withdrawn after a corruption-risk assessment was conducted by then Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu.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|3news.com|Ghana