Amidu gave me no chance to respond to Agyapa assessment, that is unacceptable – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta has taken a swipe at the former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu over the corruption risk assessment done on the Agyapa Royalties agreement.

He told the Appointments Committee of Parliament during his vetting that he did no wrong in the transaction yet the Mr Amidu failed to give him the opportunity to respond to the claims made against him in the report.

Mr Amidu claimed that the $1bn mineral royalties agreement could lead to corruption.

Mr. Ofori-Atta maintained that the transaction was transparent and executed in consonance with the laws and procedures of the country.

He was reacting to what he described as the deficiencies and flaws pointed out by the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu in an Analysis of Corruption and Anti-Corruption Assessment conducted on the request of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

The Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), representing the government of Ghana, set up Agyapa Royalties Limited, a limited liability company, to receive Ghana’s gold royalties.

In a response to President Akufo-Addo dated October 30, 2020, after Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu had submitted his work, the Finance Minister insisted that: “There is no justifiable reason for concluding that the current members of the MIIF Board will jeopardize their apparent professional integrity and reputations to engage in corrupt practices motivated by partisan considerations”.

The Special Prosecutor pointed out that the engagement of IMARA Corporate Finance Limited (Pty) (Imara), a South African firm, as Transaction Advisor did not receive parliamentary approval.

Additionally, the Special Prosecutor raised concerns about the partnership of Databank Limited and IMARA and the payment of $15,000 monthly retainer for 12 months during the evaluation and recommendation phase of the deal and $4 million as a success fee.

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Databank was co-founded by Mr Ofori-Atta but he resigned from the firm years before taking up politics and being appointed as Finance Minister but his ties with the firm have raised questions in various transactions.

The Special Prosecutor believes the Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, did not have the authority to carry out and sign an agreement on that scale on behalf of the country but the Minister.

But answering questions during his vetting, Mr Ofori-Atta said “To then go on to accept, acknowledge a document in which your citizens were not able to give their views on that is not something we should encourage. We broke no rule and I think the Attorney General should be able to give an assessment on that. I do not believe that we broke any rule by the way which the procurement was done.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana