A member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Rockson Nelson Defeamekpor, has debunked media reportage that suggests that the central bank has cleared Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta of any wrong doing with respect to the Franklin Templeton $2.25 billion bond deal.
According to him, such reports making rounds in certain NPP-sponsored media outlets, including the Daily Guide and Myjoyonline, are false and must be disregarded as such.
The NDC Member of Parliament for South Dayi constituency’s comments comes following the appearance of Bank of Ghana officials before the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday, this week, where the Daily Guide newspaper and Myjoyonline website reported that officials from the central bank have exonerated the Minister of Finance in the controversial $2.25 billion bond, issued in April, 2017.
The reports from the two media outlets quoted the Head of Financial Management Service at the Bank of Ghana, Stephen Opattah, as saying that no single individual can skew the issuance of bonds to favour one person or another and insisted that given the operations of the bond issue it was practically impossible for anyone to predetermine who the investor will be.
But the NDC member of the committee claims those reports churned out by these media houses were efforts to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians and do not represent what exactly transpired at the committee hearing.
Hon. Nelson Dafeamekpor revealed that during the interrogation of the Bank of Ghana officials, it emerged that the central bank used the ‘Book Runner’ formula to conduct the recent government domestic bond, which requires two to three days’ notice to advertise or to inform prospective buyers, but unfortunately the ‘Book Runner’ procedures were not followed by the Minister of Finance.
The South Dai MP intimated that such explanation coming from an official of the central bank lends credence to the suspicious nature of how the finance minister handled and transacted the $2.25 billion bond.
He said it has emerged that the Finance minister on Thursday 30th March, 2017 at 5:00pm sent an email to the Bank of Ghana, expressing the government intent to sell its domestic bond, on by Friday 31st March at 9:00 am the bond was being auctioned and at exactly 5:00pm the sale of the bond had come to a close.
“Information given to the committee by the central bank indicates that with the issuance of a domestic bond it was necessary for the government to place the auctioning of the bond on a notice board called the Auction Calendar. The auction calendar prepared by the Bank of Ghana for the 2017 fiscal year did not capture the recent domestic bond in question,” he stated.
The Minority in Parliament are insisting that the Finance Minister Ken Ofori- Atta had “cooked” the $2.25 billion bond issue for his friend and business partner, Trevor Trefgarne, who is director of Franklyn Templeton, the company that bought 95% of the bond.
Trevor is also Director of Enterprise Group Ltd, a company in which the Finance Minister partially owns.
In the view of the minority, Trevor took advantage of the business connection he has with the Finance Minister in order to win a deal the vice president had described as the “deal of the year” and was shrouded in secrecy and sold off to Franklyn Templeton.
The Minority has also called for a Parliamentary inquisition into the deal and further threatened to proceed to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice for a thorough investigation to be conducted into the deal.
Officials of the Bank of Ghana, who were key players in the bond issue, appeared before the committee to answer queries from the 2015 Auditor General’s Report about foreign exchange receipts and payments.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Nana Appiah Acquaye