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General News of Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

How Databank was smuggled into the Agyapa Royalties deal

The Special Prosecutor in some of the documents analysed for the risk of corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment of the processes leading up to the request for approval on the Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal indicated that Charles Adu Boahen, Deputy Finance Minister, on October 6, 2017, wrote to the dismissed CEO of the Public Procurement Authority, Adjenim Boateng Adjei, asking for approval for the use of restrictive tendering to select a company willing to offer the government a receivable backed credit facility.

Martin Amidu said, four companies were said to have been named in this letter, thus, Triple Flag, Navara Capital Limited, Stanbic Bank, and Petrodel Investor Limited.

“Imara Corporate Finance Limited,” a South African investment firm which won the transaction adviser deal as a “decoy” of Databank as described by the Special Prosecutor, was not part of the four.

The initial public offering (IPO) of Agyapa on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges are now on hold following a directive by the president.

The PPA boss then wrote back to the Ministry of Finance requesting for some documents. Charles Adu-Boahen, a deputy finance minister, replied to the PPA with two letters.

The letters then introduced Imara Corporate Finance Limited for the first time.

The Special Prosecutor wrote: “There was no request for Databank Financial Services Limited of Ghana to the PPA and the approvals consequently did not include Databank.”

He disclosed that the government then sent a request to companies already approved by the PPA as financial services providers, to send in proposals.

The government, the Special Prosecutor noted, suggested, “collaboration with eligible Ghanaian firms with complementary capabilities shall be favourably considered”.

The Ministry of Finance according to the Special Prosecutor, received only two responses both of which had local partners in their fold.

In the final report, the Special Prosecutor argued that the request which was approved by the PPA did not make the approval subject to any collaboration with eligible Ghanaian firms.

“The insertion of this condition was opaque and contrary to the PPA approval for the purpose of prevention of corruption and for suspected violations of the Public Procurement Act which may constitute corruption and corruption-related offences,” parts of the report said.

The firms said to have met this new condition were Imara Corporate Finance Limited with Databank as local partners and Morgan Stanley with Boulders Advisors as local partners.

Imara Corporate Finance Limited is said to have been ranked first in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

“The request for proposals process from the Finance Ministry with a rider for collaboration with eligible Ghanaian firms smells of bid-rigging by the Finance Ministry for the proposals from Imara using Data Bank as a decoy on closer examination, analysis and assessment of the terms and conditions of the Mandate agreement purportedly signed between the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Republic of Ghana and Imara/ Databank,” the Special Prosecutor added.

The Special Prosecutor observed that this new requirement of having a local partner “made it impossible for the European and American shortlisted companies to meet the requirements.

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