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General News of Monday, 31 August 2020

Source: thepublisheronline.com

'Agyapa Royalty deal is terrible and corrupt' - Kofi Bentil

Senior Vice-President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil Senior Vice-President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil

Senior Vice-President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil has added his voice to the growing public agitation against the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal.

Mr. Bentil says the deal is a bad one and must not be allowed to go through. He expressed wonder why the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was in such an indecent haste to push through the deal which he describes as corrupt and terrible.

In a face book post, Mr. Bentil who is also a Legal practitioner, Business Strategist and Consultant wrote;

“I am in favor of engineering our resources in the country and also our revenue to attain greater returns in the country. But after analyzing the Agyapa deal I can say it is terrible and corrupt”

His comments come in the wake of similar concerns raised by the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC) and civil society organizations who are strongly kicking against the deal describing it as case of ‘elite capture’.

For instance The alliance of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on extractives, anti-corruption and good governance has asked the government to suspend the establishment of the special purpose vehicle (SPV), Agyapa Royalties, to manage the country’s mineral royalties until all documents relating to its establishment and its owners have been disclosed.

They have argued that the opaque manner in which the policy was being implemented, including the relatively weak transparency and public oversight arrangements, and the haste with which the government was running to the market, in spite of the concerns raised by a broad spectrum of the people, did not engender public trust and consensus building on the matter.

The CSOs said a consultative process that reflected the views of the people in such an important decision should have been considered.

The CSOs include the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), CSOs Open Licensing Monitoring Group, the Citizen’s Movement Against Corruption (CMAC), the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG), Penplusbyte and Oil Watch Ghana.

The rest are the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI), Publish What You Pay (PWYP), the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), IMANI Ghana and Women Aspire. But government has taken a jibe at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs for kicking against the agreement between government and Agyapa Royalties Limited.

According government spokespersons, the NDC and these civil society organizations opposing the deal are jealous of the government’s innovative investment fund for Ghana’s minerals, hence, the castigation.

The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Attah has said government will go ahead with the deal regardless.

Parliament on August 14, approved the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana despite a walkout by the Minority.

Two years ago, the House passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018 which establishes the Fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies, and receive royalties on behalf of government.

The purpose of the fund is to manage and invest these royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.

The law allows the fund to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to use for the appropriate investments.

Last month, government introduced an amendment to the act to ensure that the SPVs have unfettered independence.

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