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Mahama questions controversial Agyapa Royalties deal

Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress has questioned the motive behind the approval of the Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal despite the Minority’s disapproval.

Joining the Minority who had earlier made a passionate appeal for Parliament not to approve the deal, John Dramani Mahama pointed out that the Agyapa agreement is shrouded in secrecy as individuals and shareholders are still unknown.

“Up till now, they have not disclosed the shareholders of the company, who are behind the company and any time there is corruption, the President clears them.

“Why will you be mortgaging this country’s gold royalties, three months to an election to go and collect money to come and spend and so the Minority said they won’t agree so they walked out.

“But they went ahead and passed it. We don’t even know those who are behind the company, and as a responsible government, why will you go and invest in an offshore tax haven when you know that is where fraudulent transactions take place.

He raised these critical questions while addressing the traditional leaders in the Ketu North Constituency as part of his four-day tour of the Volta Region.

The NDC flagbearer argued that clarity is still needed on the said agreement.

The agreement between the government and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company known as Agyapa Royalties Limited was approved by Parliament on August 14.

The five agreements is to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise its mineral income accruing to the country in a sustainable and responsible manner.

The agreement was in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978).

The approval will enable the country to use a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Agyapa Royalties Limited, to secure about $1 billion to finance large infrastructural projects.

With that Agyapa, which will operate as an independent private sector entity, will be able to raise funds from the capital market, both locally and internationally, as an alternative to the conventional debt capital market transactions.

The funds, which are expected to be raised from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), will be a long-term capital, without a corresponding increase in Ghana’s total debt stock.

However, the approval was not without drama as the Minority refused to be part of the debate prior to the approval and subsequently walked out of the Chamber.

But Parliament gave its approval to the deal last Friday despite a walkout by the Minority who contended the deal does not serve the interest of Ghana.

The Minority in a heated argument on the Floor of Parliament demanded that government discloses the owners of Agyapa Mineral Company.

They argued for an outright rejection of the agreements on the grounds that they were based on the amended MIIF Bill, which was yet to be assented to by the President.

Giving legal grounds for the Minority’s objection, the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Dr Dominic Ayine, said in terms of the statutory basis of the agreements, the (agreements) were based on the MIIF Act which was passed by the House to give the fund the power to incorporate SPVs for purposes of carrying out the business of the fund.

The Minority also mentioned that at the committee level the same day [August 14], the agreements’ transaction documents (prospectus), that spelt out the terms and conditions of the shares subscription, were never made available since the Majority argued that the prospectus was “confidential”.

They also accused the government of changing the name of the SPV nicodemously from Asaase to Agyapa.

Majority responds

But the Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, said the allegations raised by the Minority does not hold. He challenged the minority to provide evidence to back their claim.

“They need to show us the documentation that indicates that the said company name submitted was that of Asaase because the current documentation does not show a change of name.

“Indeed, when any company name is changed, it will clearly bear the former name and its present name where they will refer to its as Agyapa Resource Royalties Limited, but the document presented to the finance committee bears Agyapa Royalties Limited. So let those who are alleging prove,” he argued.

He said that the government is seeking to channel its portion of the royalties into better use for the benefit of the country.

According to him, the government is not desperate for funds but rather, “the government is using creativity, wisdom, proper structuring to derive better outcomes from our mineral resources than have been the case in the past.”

 

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