Keta MP Richard Quashigah has demanded an apology from Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for describing the Minority in Parliament as “ignorant”.
Speaking to the media in Washington DC about the Minority’s claim that the recent $2.25billion domestic bond issued by the Akufo-Addo government was done in “secrecy”, without parliamentary approval, and “cooked” to favour US-based investor Franklin Templeton, Dr Bawumia said: “This shows a lack of understanding, the Minority have never understood this economy and it’s just amazing that people on that side who were actually in charge of managing the economy will be making such statements. It really shows ignorance and I am so sad when I hear that from people who should know better.”
The Minority had said at an earlier press conference that Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklin Templeton, the institution that bought 95 per cent of the bond, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder, thus, raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest, and suspicion.
The Minority, led by former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson, said the involvement of the US-based firm changed the dynamics of the bond from being a domestic one to an international one that needed parliamentary scrutiny and approval.
“We also wish to point out that this Bond issue is clearly an international economic/business transaction within the meaning of article 181 (5) of the Constitution,” he added.
“Therefore, we expected that the bond issuance would have been brought to parliament for approval. This is because although the transaction appears as to be a domestic sale of bonds, it is in truth a ‘private placement’ and an international economic transaction given the fact that Franklyn Templeton is a United States registered company and, therefore, qualifies as a foreign entity under article 181 (5) of the constitution. We, therefore, call on the Finance Minister to provide parliament with the full complement of documentation on this transaction for scrutiny and ratification.”
In response to the Minority’s assertions, Dr Bawumia said all the assertions and allegations betrayed their lack of understanding in handling the economy.
“So they need to understand, maybe they should read a little, but they need to understand what took place: we issued a cedi bond, there’s no secrecy to the matter, it was very well invested in. The holders have invested many times in Ghana in bonds that were in place when Seth Terkper issued them, they bought them, 24 per cent interest rate. This time it is 19%, we are doing even much better, but this is what politics has been reduced to, trying to say things which really have no basis and are basically wrapped in ignorance, and, so, I’m a bit sad for Ghana and for them because they are really demonstrating a lot of ignorance in the process of managing this economy,” he noted.
However, Mr Quashigah, who is the Deputy Minority Ranking Member on the Employment Committee of Parliament, has taken strong exception to Dr Bawumia’s tagging of the Minority as “ignorant”.
In a statement titled: Bawumia must apologise to Ghanaians and Minority in Parliament, Mr Quashigah said: “If indeed those were his words, then it is not only unfortunate but a very jaundiced conclusion to have been made by him.” “If indeed the reportage as put out by the media is accurate, then he is advised to learn to speak with diplomacy and dignity expected of a vice president or else before long he could cause this nation an incalculable international embarrassment.”
The statement further said: “Assuming without admitting that the Minority got it wrong, couldn’t he have clarified without insults? Dr Bawumia, the current Vice President of Ghana, must do the excellent thing by withdrawing and must apologise to the good people of Ghana. The use of intemperate language is unbecoming of the Vice President.”