Agyapa Royalties deal to be sent back to Parliament soon – Ken Ofori-Atta

Agyapa Royalties deal to be sent back to Parliament soon – Ken Ofori-Atta

The controversial Agyapa deal is scheduled to make its way into the legislative house again when the house resumes sitting, this was disclosed by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

Mr Ofori-Atta also told the press that the “Attorney General has looked at the agreement” hence the decision to return the deal.

“The Attorney General has looked at it, we have had a few stakeholder meetings. I think the new board should be energized to review that and then go through the Parliamentary process. I am unequivocal that it is the way to go in terms of monetizing our minerals and finding a way to the level of debt that the country has,” he said after inaugurating the new board of the Ghana Minerals Income Investment Fund.

It would be recalled that this agreement, which was initially approved by the Seventh Parliament on Friday, August 14, 2020, had to be withdrawn after a corruption-risk assessment was conducted by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Amidu.

The then Special Prosecutor Mr Martin Amidu who resigned afterwards accused President Akufo-Addo of interfering in his assessment on the deal under the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978).

“The reaction I received for daring to produce the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption report convinces me beyond any reasonable doubt that I was not intended to exercise any independence as the Special Prosecutor in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and recovery of assets of corruption,” Mr Amidu said in his resignation letter to the President.

This also sparked a reply from the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, saying a mere meeting between the President and a Special Prosecutor cannot be said to be interference.

“Your accusation of interference with your functions simply on account of the meeting the President held with you is perplexing. In exercise of what you considered to be your powers under Act 959, you had voluntarily proceeded to produce the Agyapa Report.

“The President had no hand in your work. Without prompting from any quarter within the Executive, you delivered a letter purporting to be a copy of your report to the president.

“The purpose of presenting a copy of the Agyapa report to the President is decipherable from paragraph 32 of your letter to the president in which you indicated that you hoped the report will be ‘used to improve current and future legislative and executive actions to make corruption and corruption-related offences very high risk enterprise in Ghana’.”

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were also not convinced about the deal hence their rejection of the previous agreement when it was first introduced on the floor of parliament.

However, Ghana’s Parliament approved the controversial agreement on Friday, August 14 despite a protest from the Minority.

Also, a group of CSOs led by Dr Steve Manteaw complained that the government of Ghana and Parliament rushed in approving the agreement.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Dr Manteaw said: “What we are telling government is let’s slow down…let’s have more transparency, more consensus building around the approach before we go forward with the approach.

“I don’t know of any national emergency that warrants that we should rush the process to raise funds for development.”

On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, President Akufo-Addo hinted of sending the deal back to Parliament for re-consideration.

In his first state-of-the-nation address to that Parliament on Tuesday, March 9, President Akufo-Addo said “in the course of this session of Parliament, Government will come back to engage the House on the steps it intends to take on the future of the Agyapa transaction”.

By: Stella Annan | Twitter @activetvgh

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