The deal, despite being approved by Parliament on Friday, August 14, 2020, had to be suspended as a result of an order from the President.
The order followed controversy that was stirred by a corruption-risk assessment conducted by then Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu, in October, 2020.
The assessment called into question the processes leading to the approval and cited then Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta for doing bad job as regards due diligence on the deal.
It culminated in the resignation of Mr Amidu.
“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,” Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor wrote on Monday, November 16, 2020.
“My position as the Special Prosecutor has consequently become clearly untenable.”
On Monday, March 10, while delivering his first state-of-the-nation address in his second term, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo suggested that the controversial deal should be considered by the Eighth Parliament if it makes its way back.
“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,” he hinted.
Speaking on The Key Points on TV3/3FM on Saturday, March 13, Mr Egyapa Mercer clarified that government never pulled the deal out of Parliament.
“Parliament approved the transaction and documentation. However, because of the post-approval brouhaha, His Excellency the President indicated that they should suspend the process so that we can have further engagement,” he noted.
He stressed, nonetheless, that the Minority Caucus, which walked out of the chamber during the approval session, had concerns with the deal because of its timing – near the 2020 elections – as they had approved the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, Act 978, way back in 2018.
He said the only genuine concern one may raise about the transaction is valuation.
“So, look, we can segregate the propaganda from the fact and I have said that a question that is raised that is legitimate relates to valuation.
“I will not debate anybody who says that we don’t have a problem with the transaction but are we getting good value for the Finance Ministry to now come and provide responses relative to the question of value?
“If that question is answered, I support the Agyapa transaction 2,000 per cent because it is good.”
But Member of Parliament for Tamale North Constituency Alhassan Suhuyini, who was also on the weekend current affairs analysis show, argued that an assessment has to be made as regards the deal, taking into consideration its pros and cons.
He says when the pros outweigh the cons, there has to be fine-tuning somewhere but, for now, all indications show that the cons overshadow the pros, making the deal bad for Ghana.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana