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General News of Wednesday, 31 August 2022


'Missing' $37m: Bright Simons demands for 'real' Afreximbank loan facility agreement

Vice President of Imani Africa, Bright Simons Vice President of Imani Africa, Bright Simons

Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons, has suggested that the government did not present the ‘real’ agreement for the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) loan facility to Parliament.

According to him, what was sent to Parliament was only a term sheet that did not contain further details on the loan.

In a series of Twitter posts on August 30, the policy analyst wondered the whereabouts of $37m said to be ‘missing’ from the $750 million loan facility.

His comment comes on the back of evolving controversy surrounding the approval of the agreement and the exact amount that hit the Government of Ghana account.

“The problem with the "missing" cash from the $750m is SIMPLE: The document supposedly "approved" by Parliament was just a TERM-SHEET with merely indicative terms. A full agreement was NOT shared. Where is it? Why isn't the media pushing Parliament on this? Why the hiding?

“Were there hidden fees, undisclosed brokers & other terms not in the public interest in the "real" agrmnt? Because otherwise it is completely unclear why Parliament will approve a termsheet suggesting that the main agreement will come later & all of a sudden money is disbursed. Who took the $37 million and by WHAT AUTHORITY? Who took the money and gave it to papa "escrow"? And by what AUTHORITY?,” Bright Simons tweeted.

Earlier, Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson had raised eyebrows over a ‘missing’ sum of $37 million from the loan facility.

According to him, Parliament approved a $750 million Afreximback loan facility and not the $713 million the Bank of Ghana (BoG) reportedly received on behalf of the government.

In a tweet shared on August 29, 2022, Ato Forson added that Parliament did not approve any fee amounting to the $37 million discrepancy.

“Can someone at the ministry of finance & the Bank of Ghana explain why only $713m out of the approved $750m hit GOG's Bank account?

“Where is the remaining $37m? For the avoidance of doubt, Parliament did not approve upfront fees amounting to $37m,” parts of the tweet by Ato Forson, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, read.

According to 3news, a source at the central bank had said that $13 million had already been paid as fees and so the $37 million discrepancy cannot also be fees.

However, Deputy Finance Minister John Kumah has clarified that the government has received the full amount of $750 million but has set aside $37m for debt servicing obligations.

“The Government has received fully the total amount of USD750.0 million today Monday, 29th August, 2022 from Afrexim as was approved by Parliament. Government also as part of the transaction has created an Escrow Account for debt service for the facility.

“This arrangement is not new as the Ministry of Finance has from time to time created specialised Escrow accounts for specific purposes. In this particular transaction, an amount of USD37.0 million from the facility has been set aside for debt service obligations. All the documentation relating to this arrangement was supplied to and was approved by Parliament.

“Government is grateful to Afrexim and assure all Ghanaians that the funds will be applied especially to the specific infrastructure projects approved by Parliament,” John Kumah wrote on his Facebook page on August 29.

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