On Monday, April 3, 2017, the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Finance issued a statement announcing that the Ministry under the aegis of Ken Ofori Atta has “successfully issued 15 and 7 year bonds with the same coupon rate of 19.75%, raising a total amount of USD1.13 billion. In addition, the Ministry of Finance raised the cedi equivalent USD1.12 billion in 5 and 10 year bonds via a tap arrangement.”
The sale of USD 2.25 billion worth of bonds by Mr Ken Ofori Atta was the single-biggest daily transaction in sub-Saharan Africa. Reuters, in a publication dated April 4, described the transaction as “jumbo debt action.”
The Finance Ministry did not however name(s) companies or individuals that participated in the sale, except to say that “the issuance attracted a number of global portfolio investors including a very substantial investment in the 15-year bond by a very well respected global financial investor”
Reuters subsequently reported that “a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Franklin Templeton had participated in the sale.” According to the report “Franklin Templeton’s high-profile bond fund manager, Dr Michael Hasenstab has taken a “substantial” position in Ghana’s cedi-denominated government bonds”
Franklin Templeton Investment Limited is an American global investment management organization founded in 1947. It has an extensive global presence, including offices in 34 countries and clients in more than 170 countries.
The firm has renowned investors as it Board of Directors. In an unedited semi-annual report of Franklin Templeton Investment limited dated December 31, 2016; Honorable Trevor G. Trefgarne was named as one of the five Board of Directors of the firm. He was described in the report as Chairman of Enterprise Group Limited (a Ghanaian firm).
Enterprise Group Limited also has a picture of Honorable Trevor G. Trefgarne on its website as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company. Enterprise Group has 10 Board of Directors. Principal among them are Mr Keli Gadzekpo, Group Chief Executive of Enterprise Group; Dr Angela Ofori Atta, wife of Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta who doubles as Director of Enterprise Insurance, a subsidiary of Enterprise Group etc.
Enterprise Group also has Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo and Dr Angela Ofori Atta as non-executive members of the firm. Hon Gloria Akuffo is/was Director of Enterprise Life, a subsidiary of Enterprise Group (it is not clear whether he has resigned or not).
In 1990, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta together with Mr Keli Gaadzekpo (CEO of Enterprise Group) and others founded Data Bank. It is now emerging that a firm that Hon Trevor G. Trefgarne works as a member of Board of Directors took substantial position in the April 3, 2017 bond issued by the Finance Minister.
In the coming days, facts relating to this deal will surely come to the fore for discussion. The digging process is still in motion.