Minority to petition US body over Ofori-Atta ‘cronyism and nepotism’

Minority Spokesperson on Finance Ato Forson wants the Finance Minister investigated[/caption] The Minority in Parliament says it will petition the Financial Services Authority of the United States of America for a conflict of interest situation involving Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. The Minority says this will follow a full-scale parliamentary inquiry, it is demanding, into the issue. At a news conference on Tuesday, April 18, Minority’s Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, explained that an April 3 bond issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was subscribed to by Franklin Templeton Investment Limited’s Trevor G. Trefgarne, who is a friend to Mr Ofori-Atta. According to the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Trefgarne is a board chairman of Ghana’s Enterprise Insurance Limited, a company owned partially by the current finance minister. “Putting these apparent facts together, we have reason to believe that there is a relational interest between our Finance Minister and Trevor G. Trefgarne which creates a potential lack of transparency and conflict of interest,” the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Member of Parliament said. “As we all know, the Constitution provides unequivocally that public officers shall not put themselves in a situation in which their private interest conflicts with their public obligations. There is no record available to us to the effect that the Finance Minister made known publicly this relational conflict of interest.” He said there good reason to believe that the bond was issued in a way to favour friends, relatives and business partners of Mr Ofori-Atta’s. “This situation is best described as cronyism and nepotism, cooked for his friend and associates, and not transparent.” He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs “wish to call for a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into whether, and the extent to which, this situation of lack of transparency and conflict of interest has adversely affected the welfare of the people of Ghana”. He added: “Failing such Parliamentary inquiry we the minority shall have no option but to resort to using the conflict of interest jurisdiction of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). Furthermore, we also intend to exercise the option of filing a report/petition with the Financial Services Authority of the U.S.A to investigate Franklyn Templeton.”

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