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Business News of Thursday, 27 August 2020


I doubt 'missing' GH¢1.5 billion oil money will ever be found – Steve Manteaw

Dr. Steve Manteaw, Co-chairman of the Ghana Extractive and Transparency Initiative Dr. Steve Manteaw, Co-chairman of the Ghana Extractive and Transparency Initiative

The former Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, has said if the government of Ghana has still not been able to account for GH¢1.5 billion of the country’s oil funds, then it cannot be trusted to monetise Ghana’s mineral royalties as has been done through the Agyapa Royalties deal.

Dr Manteaw told Accra100.5FM’s The Citizen Show on Wednesday, 26 August 2020 hosted by Kwabena Bobie Ansah that government has promised on several occasions to account for it but has not done so.

“The last time I enquired from some colleagues of PIAC about the money, I was told by them that the government has promised to account for it in the 2021 budget”, he said.

Dr Manteaw, however, said: “I don’t believe the money is still there”.

According to him, one of the reasons he and other civil society organisations are against the recently-approved Agyapa Royalties deal is the government’s failure to account for the GH¢1.5 billion oil money since they fear the same thing could happen to the gold sector.

Recently, the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, of which Dr Manteaw chairs, called for the immediate suspension of the controversial Agyapa Royalties Limited agreement with the government of Ghana.

The CSOs say the beneficial ownership of the special purpose vehicle and Agyapa Minerals Royalties should be made public or the implementation of the deal be deferred.

Parliament most recently in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978), approved agreements to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise its mineral income accruing to the country in a sustainable and responsible manner.

The move gives Agyapa Royalties Limited the right to secure about $1 billion to enable government finance large infrastructural projects.

But the Chairman of the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, Dr Steve Manteaw, at a press conference on Tuesday, 25 August 2020, said the deal is not transparent and places Agyapa Royalties above the country’s tax laws.

“The recent amendment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund creates more suspicion.

“The rushed amendment and inserting worrying clauses including clauses that leave a special purpose vehicle, Agyapa Royalties, above Ghanaian tax laws, outweighs Ghana’s immunity, and by that, exposes Ghana to the risk of damaging lawsuits should any future government seek to reverse this transaction,” he said.

“What we find even more repulsive about this whole transaction is the provision that permits Agyapa Royalties, a supposed company of the sovereign state, to register in tax payments to borrow money or raise equity in foreign currency from any source on the back of the gold royalties of Ghanaians without the requirement of any further approval, consent and administrative Act of the Government of Ghana.

“This provision takes Agyapa Royalties away from parliamentary oversight and control”, he added.

Already, the deal has been criticised by the opposition National Democratic Congress, which accused the government of mortgaging the country’s mineral resources.