Akufo-Addo gov’t erred in $2.25bn bond issuance, impeding investigations – Group

A youth-oriented group has accused the Akufo-Addo government of having committed an illegality in contracting the 2.25 billion-dollar bond, and given the President 15 days to form the board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the matter.

According to the group, the SEC which supervises the securities market, was dysfunctional at the time the Finance Ministry announced the 2.25 dollar bond in that the board of SEC had not been formed by President Akufo-Addo.

Citing the Securities Industry Law 2016 (Act 929) the group, Dynamic Youth Movement Ghana (DYMOG), said “SEC should have supervised the processes leading to the execution of the bond”.

It has since May 8 petitioned the SEC to investigate the transparency of the bond, its classification and a claim of possible conflict of interest in the issuance of the said bond which the government has touted as an achievement.

But a response from the SEC dated May 9 and signed by Alidu Mohammed said the Commission is unable to investigate the matter on the basis that it does not have a board from which the Administrative and Hearings Committee will be composed to look into the petition.

Again, the Commission advised DYMOG to redirect its petition to the Director General of the SEC before same may be considered by the administrative and hearings committee.Addressing a news conference Thursday on the matter, Convenor of DYMOG, Edward Tutor, said accused the government of attempts to thwart investigations into the bond which has been condemned by the minority in parliament.

He justified the claim with what he described as delays in forming the board for the SEC by the President in consultation with the Council of State.

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“Good people of Ghana, despite the conspicuous transgression of executing the bond whiles SEC was dysfunctional, it still remains a fact that, the SEC Board has still not been formed till date. Why is the President unenthusiastic about forming the SEC Board almost six (6) months into office?,” Mr Tutor asked

He added: “This is enormously worrisome and leaves us with no option that to conclude, there might be a conscious and premeditated attempt to prevent the investigation into the $2.25 billion bond”.

Mr Tuttor questioned the Finance Minister as to why he did not wait until the formation of the SEC Board before executing the 2.25 billion dollar bond.

“Better still, if the Finance Minister needed the bond so badly to work with, why didn’t he prompt the President… to hurriedly exercise his appointing powers under Chapter 8 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 2 of the Securities Industry Law, to form the SEC Board?” he said.

“This means, at the time Government signed the Bond, the SEC had no Chairman, no Director General and other key members who form SEC Board. This is not acceptable,” he added.

Mr Tuttor said in view of the evidence that formed the basis of their petition to the SEC, they have written to President Akufo-Addo to as a matter or urgency, put in place the SEC board for the matter to be gone into.

He said while they admire the President’s bold statements against corruption and his zeal to end the canker, it is imperative for him to walk the talk by attaching “seriousness” to their call for him to form the board for the SEC.

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“The spotlight is therefore on the President, as Head of State to walk His talk of fighting corruption and demonstrate to all Ghanaians, His unalloyed commitment to fight corruption irrespective of who is involved,” he said.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana