Politics of Friday, 21 April 2017
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta must resign over the alleged conflict of interest situation in which he has engrossed himself as far as the recent issuance of government’s $2.25 billion domestic bond is concerned, the UK/Ireland branch of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said.
The group’s call follows a recent press conference held by the Minority in Parliament who said Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklin Templeton, the institution that bought 95% of the bond, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder, thus, raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest and suspicion.
The Minority, led by former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson, said the involvement of the US-based firm changed the dynamics of the bond from being a domestic one to an international transaction that needed parliamentary scrutiny and approval.
“We also wish to point out that this Bond issue is clearly an international economic/business transaction within the meaning of article 181 (5) of the Constitution.”
“Therefore, we expected that the bond issuance would have been brought to parliament for approval. This is because although the transaction appears as to be a domestic sale of bonds, it is in truth a ‘private placement’ and an international economic transaction given the fact that Franklyn Templeton is a United States registered company and, therefore, qualifies as a foreign entity under article 181 (5) of the constitution. We, therefore, call on the Finance Minister to provide parliament with the full complement of documentation on this transaction for scrutiny and ratification,” the Minority demanded.
A press statement signed by Secretary of the NDC’s UK/Ireland Chapter Sam Quaye said, “this deal is the biggest by any sub-Saharan African country in a day. One would have expected that the parliament of Ghana would be consulted to ensure that there is value for money, as was the case under previous governments. Yet, the clique of kleptocracy led by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta avoided so doing, and rather opted for secrecy.”
“We will not relent until the interests of all Ghanaians are duly protected from this nascent kleptocracy.”
Read the full statement below:
NDC UK/IRELAND CALLS ON KEN OFORI-ATTA TO RESIGN OR BE SACKED.
Member of the United Kingdom Chapter of the National Democratic Congress have learnt with utter dismay the bold manner in which President Akufo-Addo's Finance Minister has mortgaged our national income and future to private business entities and interests close to him.
The recent issue of a $2.25 billion dollars debt by the government has thrown up not only public revulsion, but also revealed the direction the Akufo-Addo government wants to take with regard to their stewardship of our national wealth.
The latest substandard governance decision by this regime cannot withstand even the lowest threshold of scrutiny.
It is a fact that Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister co-owns Enterprise Group Ltd with Mr Trevor Trefgarne. But Mr Trevor Trefgarne is the Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Group Ltd.
We also know as a matter of fact that Mr Trevor Trefgarne is a Director of Franklin Templeton, the company which holds 95% of the new bonds issued under the Ministerial aegis of his business partner Ken Ofori-Atta. Another incontrovertible fact is that the wife of the Finance Minister is a Principal Director of the Enterprise Group. The Attorney General of our dear country, Madam Gloria Akuffo, was a director of Enterprise Life, a subsidiary of the Enterprise Group until hours before the deal was executed.
It is, therefore, not possible that all the above actors would be unaware of the palpable web of interests and relationships that show clear conflicts surrounding this deal. Regardless of this, they colluded to commit Ghanaians to this massive debt at such an unimaginable rate for what seems to be their private benefits.
As was reported earlier, this deal is the biggest by any sub-Saharan African country in a day. One would have expected that the parliament of Ghana would be consulted to ensure that there is value for money, as was the case under previous governments. Yet, the clique of kleptocracy led by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta avoided so doing, and rather opted for secrecy.
Again, we are utterly shocked at the revelation that the Attorney General did not know about this overwhelming financial deal. How is it possible that the legal advisor to the government of Mr Akufo-Addo was unaware of the biggest debt deal in a day by any African country south of the Sahara? No heist of this magnitude should evade such a critical institution in our country. Our institutions exist for such critical national purposes.
We cannot sit by and watch Mr Akufo-Addo and his family-run government destroy the fortunes of Ghana and her citizens for the sake of his family and friends' economic interests.
We are, therefore, calling on the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta to bow down his head in shame and resign from the office he holds on behalf of all Ghanaians. If that fails the President should muster the moral courage to sack him with dispatch so as to protect the public purse.
To President Akufo-Addo, we want to ask: is he the same person who said "if you want to make money stay away from my government" when he was seeking the votes of Ghanaian? If it is the case, then we are expecting him to live by his words and sack his disappointing cousin Finance Minister before Ghana financially bleeds to a pulp.
We will not relent until the interests of all Ghanaians are duly protected from this nascent kleptocracy.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
(Chapter Secretary, NDC UK/IRELAND)