MINORITY CORNERS FINANCE MINISTER

– US$2.25Billion Bond Scandal

…As Parliament Slaps Him With Seven-Day Ultimatum To Come ‘Talk True’

The Minority Caucus in Parliament yesterday secured a seven-day-ultimatum order on the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to furnish the House with information regarding the smelly $2.25 billion bond scandal without delay.

The order is occasioned by the minority who had maintained the issuance of the bond is shrouded in secrecy to rob the nation of millions of dollars.

The Minority has accused the finance minister of Conflict of Interest in the deal, describing it as “a highest corrupt scandal.”

Invoking a half-hour motion for the first time in the history of Ghana’s parliament, the minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, prayed the House to summon the finance minister to appear and give clarity to how the bond was issued.

The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, seconded the motion, saying the move will help bring finality to the raging controversy over the bond.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Prof. Mike Oquaye, subsequently, ordered the minister to appear before the House within the assigned time to address the concerns of the minority.

The minority chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak, had on Tuesday, this week, told journalists in parliament the half-hour motion would be moved to afford the House the opportunity to debate the matter and subsequently seek answers from the finance minister.

“We’ve had a gentleman agreement to move a half-hour motion to get the finance minister to answer the questions that are on our minds, what are the issues around it, how was it disbursed and procured. The half-hour motion will provide all of us the opportunity to debate it in Parliament,” he stated.

The debate will undoubtedly open up the entire transaction on issues of the bond issuance, conflict of interest and others, which the nation stand to lose collaterally, he had added.

The minority are of the view that the manner in which the bond was transacted is against the laws as it required parliamentary approval since it involved an international company, Frank Templeton Investment Holdings.

They argued that the Government of Ghana will, in the future, have to cough up not less than $4.9 billion to pay back, and at a deficit of about $329million.

The minority, at its initial press conference, called for a full-scale probe into the bond issue, citing secrecy and conflict of interest in the deal.

They had also filed a petition before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States, seeking, among other things, a thorough investigation into the controversial $2.25 billion domestic bond, which was issued in April, this year.

It is the hope of both sides in parliament that the motion and its subsequent debate by members will help to unravel the full picture of what transpired at the Ministry of Finance, with the minister and his directors issuing such a huge sum bond, without recourse to parliamentary approval.

Already, the government has lost all devious attempts to have the matter swept under the carpet, as talks with the minority in secrecy and that of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the financial regulatory body, have not yielded any good results.

 

 

Source:therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba       

The Republic News Online

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