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General News of Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Source: Peace FM

Agyapa Royalties deal: It's not a scam, stop the 'ugly' noises! - Kweku Baako

Seasoned journalist, Abdul Malik Baako has jumped into the political fray over the widely peddled Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal.

Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal

On Friday, August 14, 2020, Parliament approved five agreements to permit Ghana to gain maximum value from its mineral resources.

The agreements were also to allow the country monetize its mineral income in accordance with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act of 2018 (Act 978) with the Act empowering Agyapa Royalties Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle, to secure about $1 billion.

The money is intended to be used to finance infrastructural projects in the country.

According to the deal, Agyapa Royalties Limited will operate as an independent private entity and raise funds from the capital market from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Controversies

But the deal has been hit by controversies as the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Minority in Parliament have expressed dissenting views and vehemently opposed the deal.

Firstly, there are heated arguments about the involvement of the Senior Minister's son, Kofi Bosompem Osafo-Maafo and Gabby Otchere-Darko, a relative of the Finance Minister and the President of Ghana; as handlers of the deal.

Secondly, the Minority has raised issues with the terms of the deal.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 argued that "the Minister of Finance in presenting this deal is in breach and a clear violation of the law and is required to have reported this deal with full disclosure in his 2020 Supplementary budget to Parliament. Our position is that no future NDC government will honor the terms of this Agyapa Royalties Transaction''.



Some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have also objected to the Agyapa Royalties deal because, to them, unless the government accounts for some Ghc1.5 billion oil money; it has no right to hold such minerals transaction.

“There are huge transparency issues that needs to be addressed. A government that is asking us to give up our royalties from mineral resources for loans in order to develop country but has not been able to account for Ghc1.5 billion from the Oil Fund we gave them since 2017. We don’t know what that amount has been used for, they keep telling us that the money is there but when we ask for evidence, they fail to produce it”, former Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw said in an interview on Okay FM's morning show 'Ade Akye Abia'.

Ugly Noises

To Kweku Baako, all these objections are nothing but noises.

Speaking to host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo', Mr. Baako said he sees nothing wrong with the deal stressing there was a ''healthy collaboration, understanding and cooperation'' between former Attorney General of the erstwhile Mills/Mahama regime, the Ministry of Finance and the transaction advisors of the deal when the process began.

He stated that the former Attorney General even offered some advices to guide the deal and so wondered why the NDC and Minority would now turn around to oppose the deal when the AG, before the NDC government was voted out of power, was actively involved in the preliminary discussions to approving the deal.

''There was a healthy collaboration, understanding and cooperation and people taking the Attorney General's advice for what it's worth in order to push forward that process.''

Mr. Baako further called on the conspiracy theorists to hush up on the deal stressing there is no conflict of interest, particularly with the appointment of the Senior Minister's son and Gabby Otchere-Darko to handle the deal.

"The noise is too much but we voted for it. We voted for creating a space where the noise can be accommodated however ugly".

"What I find remarkable about that whole thing is it made me realize that the perception or if you like conspiracy theory that this is an attempt by the government to craft some scam and throw it there for people just to consume is not very sustainable," he stated.

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