We will be law abiding – Ofori-Atta on Agyapa IPO suspension

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Ken Ofori Atta

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that even though he is yet to officially see the letter from the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) as at yesterday afternoon, advising him to hold on the launch of the Initial Public Offer (IPO) for Agyapa Royalties due to some outstanding corruption risk assessment of the deal, his ministry would be law abiding and ensure that all legal ramifications are cleared.

“I haven’t heard officially from him [Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu] on that, but we certainly are law abiding and whatever we have to do we will do but we are confident that it is the way to move,” the minister told journalists after an EU Ghana financial agreement signing.

According to him, the nation’s plan to launch the IPO this year is still on course as there would be no better time than now. “The plan is to list Agyapa by the end of the year and I stick to it until I can’t move more. I think it is an incredible period: the highest gold prices the world has ever seen. If you have that resources what do you do with it? Do you bury it underground or do you use it for the benefit of our people?

So we had a good presentation to the National House of Chiefs last Friday and just socialised the narrative so more people can understand but we will never do anything illegal, but we know it is the right way to go for Africa to open itself up to equity investors,” he said.

Government has said that the agreement is expected to enable the country use a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Agyapa Royalties Limited, to secure about US$1 billion to finance infrastructure projects.

But the OSP, in a letter to the Finance Ministry, explained that: “This Office would have wished to complete its corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa Royalties Transaction soonest but for the non-submission of the information and documents pending to be submitted by your Ministry. The information and documents you supplied concerned mainly the processes for and the appointment of the Transaction Advisors which goes to the root of any corruption risk assessment.

Information and documents relating to the identification and recommendation by the transaction advisors to your Ministry for appointment of a list of other services providers and or underwriters that may be required to complete the transaction as provided in clause 2.2.1 of the mandate agreement amongst others, that are critical to any through corruption risk assessment are also outstanding.

The legal opinions particularly of the principal legal advisor to the government under the Constitution are relevant to ensure compliance with her recommendations as part of any corruption risk assessment.”

As a result, the OSP urged the Ministry to hold on with the launching of the IPO until his office completes the corruption risk assessment it is currently undertaking.

“In the circumstances, this Office wishes to urge you to abide by the results of the corruption risk assessment it is undertaking on the transaction before moving to the launching of the IPO transaction. This Office makes this suggestion on the grounds of prudence on your part and to also not give the impression that the mandate of this Office on prevention of corruption is of no consequence to the transaction.”

The Special Prosecutor had earlier written to Parliament to furnish his office with the necessary documents regarding the deal. The request was in line with the mandate of the office to exercise the functions and powers of prevention of corrupt activities.

 

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