Ghana To Lose $440m Annually – Mion MP

Hon. Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, Member of Parliament (MP) for Mion Constituency in the Northern Region, has said, at least, $440 million is being lost through the secret and insider-dealing issuance of the $2.25 billion bond.

According to him, the nation will have to cough up an interest of $440 million annually and $6.9billion interest to the Franklin Templeton within the 15 year bond, under what he described as “wilfully causing financial lose to the state.”

Hon. Abdul-Aziz made the statement in an interview with The Gazette on wide range of issues surrounding the controversial bond by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

He argued the government through the Minister for Finance failed to comply with the regulatory laws on bonds and went ahead to issue a 15 years and 7 years.

The Mion constituency MP said Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, which acquired about 95 per cent of the domestic bond, has a direct relationship with Enterprise Group, a company Mr. Ofori-Atta has an interest in, adding that that raises the issue of conflict of interest and insider dealings.

He argued that, Mr. Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, by extension has direct dealings with Franklin Templeton as investor and in the process issued the bond.

He added, in normal circumstances, “All prospective bidders bid through their primary dealers, who in turn submitted the investor’s bids through the Central Securities Depository platform. The joint transaction advisers then collate these bids to build up a book on which the bonds are issued, but this cannot be said in this $2.25 billion bond as we speak.”

He insisted: “There were breaches of integrity either on government’s part or on the joint book runners’ part.”

Hon. Abdul-Aziz indicated that the Finance Minister had been evasive with his answers relating to the $2.25 billion domestic bond the government issued.

He stated that, from the onset, the minority raised a number of issues of conflict of interest and the lack of transparency from the $2.25 billion bond issuance, which the government and the Finance Ministry denied but revealing issues indicated that the bond was issued on sole sourcing.

“For instance, the bonds were not on the issuance calendar; the initial pricing guidelines of the bond were issued after working hours on March 30, 2017, while the public announcement of the transaction was sent by email at 9:09 am on March 31, 2017. That meant that the transaction was opened before the announcement was made to the public,” Hon. Abdul-Aziz contended.

The Mion MP further argued that the April 3, 2017 was the Settlement Date and not the Closing Date of the bond as the Finance administer sought to explain to the Minority.

In his view, the report of the SEC, the financial body investigating the suspected conflict of interest and insider trading which are violations of US law by Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director of Franklin Templeton, will expose the entire deal.

The issuance of the $2.25 billion bond is undergoing concurrent investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), USA and Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over possible conflict of interest and secrecy in the deal.

The case of the minority is that Article 181 of the Public Financial Management Act enjoins the Finance Minister to bring the deal of such nature before the august House for approval “but that has not happened in the case of the $2.25 billion bond.

As part of the fights for transparency on the $2.25billion bond, the Minority filed a motion and sought  for  the Finance Minister to provide detailed information including the full complement of documentation related to issuance, participation, utilisation of the proceeds and currency in which it was issued.

He had since appeared before the House on Wednesday this week, but the Minority expressed dissatisfaction of the response from the Finance Minister and asked that he goes and comes back with further and better particular




Source: Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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