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General News of Thursday, 20 April 2017


‘Secrecy’ about $2.25bn bond unhelpful – Ken Thompson

Following allegations of conflict of interest against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, relating to the recent $2.25 billion bond issue, the Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson, has called for more transparency about the bond.

He believes that what looks like secrecy surrounding the $2.25 billion bond issue, is only fueling the allegations of conflict of interest from the Minority in Parliament against the Finance Minister.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Thompson said some further disclosure must be made because it also “protects the integrity of the transaction.”

He noted further that, in times past when bonds have been issued, there have been road shows, announcements or visits to Parliament “but this seems to have happened rather quickly.”

“So it is the secrecy to it that has brought all this attention so we need to be told more… We need full and better particulars and the secrecy is one of the things that has caused all these things to arise so I think we deserve some explanation of some sort,” he said.

Minority calling for Parliamentary probe

The Minority in its conflict of interest allegations, said a non-executive director on the board of Investment Firm, Franklin Templeton, who purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond, is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group, which has links to the Attorney-General and the Finance Minister.

Thus it called for a full-scale parliamentary probe into how some persons they refer to as very close friends of the Finance Minister purchased such a high percentage of the bond.

But given the background of Ken Ofori Atta, who has worked as an investment banker and is a co-founder of Databank, Mr. Thompson said “it is unreasonable to expect that the Finance Minister who spent most of his working life to date in the private sector won’t have certain interests, especially for someone who worked as an investment banker.”

Nevertheless, he said “we need to have information that shows very clearly that he or his family or his associates are not benefiting directly from the transaction. That is all we are asking for.”