The Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG), a civil society group, based in Accra, has made a clarion call on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the $2.25billion bond scandal involving the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Joining a chorus of consternation expressed by Ghanaians since it came to light that the Finance Minister preferentially sold the bonds to Franklin Templeton, a company in which the minister’s business partner, Trevor Trefgarne, is a board member, DYMOG reiterated public sentiment that the transaction needs to be investigated.
In a statement released in Accra and signed by Edward Tuttor, Convener of DYMOG, and Daniel Blaise Annan Junior, Director of Operations of the CSO, DYMOG specifically urged the SEC to probe apparent breaches to the Ghana Public Borrowing Guidelines (GPBG) as a result of Ken Ofori-Atta’s self-styled bond issuance.
Underscoring that government had adopted the GPBG in 2010 to ensure transparency in public borrowing, DYMOG urged the SEC to probe out how Ken Ofori-Atta managed to ignore the principles in that document and issued the bonds in a shroud of secrecy.
It said, the breach of the GPBG in the course of issuing this bond has consequently led to a breach of Parliamentary principles.
“The Ghana Public Borrowing Guidelines Section 3.1.1 without ambiguity defines and explains what external borrowing is: ‘External debt is defined on gross basis at any given point in time as disbursed and contractual liabilities of the Central Government to on residents to repay principal, with or without interest or to pay interest, with or without principal,” it quoted to underscore that the debt now owed Franklin Templeton as a result of the 2.25billion dollars bond issuance is a foreign debt, making the transaction an international one.
Per the constitution, every international transaction by the country is supposed to be subject to Parliamentary approval. DYMOG therefore wants the SEC to probe out why Parliament was ignored by the Finance Minister.
On the part of CHRAJ, DYMOG wants the human rights commission to investigate seeming conflict of interest situation arising out of the sale of the majority, 95% of the bonds to Franklin Templeton.
As a firm, Franklin Templeton has as its board member, Hon. Trevor G. Trefgarne, who happens to be a Board Chairman for the Enterprise Group, a company partly owned by the Finance Minister.
DYMOG says it has ascertained from the Registrar General’s Department that indeed Mr. Trefgarne is a co-founder of the Enterprise Group, whose majority shareholder is Data Bank, which holds 39% shares in Enterprise.
Data Bank is partly owned by the Finance Minister.
On this score, DYMOG’s call races ahead of a looming formal complaint from the Minority in Parliament, which has threatened to invoke the conflict of interest jurisdiction of CHRAJ if Parliament does not institute an enquiry into the Templeton scandal.
DYMOG also expressed disappointment with Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia for his recent insulting coments against the Minority in Parliament that they are ignorant and do not read, because the Minority has raised issues with the issuance of the 2.25billion bond.
It called on the Vice President to render an unqualified apology to the Minority, pointing out that the fact that he had made the statement in Washington DC is an attack on the national reputation given that he, the Vice President, is supposed to be the second most important ambassador of Ghana to the outside world.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels