May 22 2017 : NDC USA-Press Release for immidiate Release : NDC -USA Coalition Chapter
Franklin Templeton, Enterprise Group, Ken Ofori Attah, and Insider Trading!
We demand that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo execute his Oath of Office to defend Ghana, and immediately fire Ghana’s Finance Minister, Honourable Ken Ofori Attah for violations of the laws of our country and ethics in the recent bond sale. We posit that the bond issue constitutes an egregious case of Insider Trading as well as Conflict of Interest.
By definition, Insider trading is the trading of a public company’s stock or other securities (such as bonds or stock options) by individuals with access to nonpublic information about the company. In various countries, some kinds of trading based on insider information is illegal. This is because it is seen as unfair to other investors who do not have access to the information, as the investor with insider information could potentially make far larger profits that a typical investor could not make.
In the case of Honourable Ken ofori Attah, who triples as the finance minister, cousin of the president and part owner of the Enterprise group, and an affiliate to Franklin Templeton Group had all the information in trading the nation’s biggest bond issue of US$2.25 billion with an astronomical coupon rate (19.75). This is by far the biggest internal bond trade in the history of any sub-Saharan country on the African continent.
Our investigations confirm that the Attorney general Gloria Akuffo, who was supposed to have advised on such trade deals on behalf of government, was a former director of Enterprise Life, a subsidiary of Enterprise Group and family member of Ken Ofori Attah. Her fiducial relationship with the involved participants in the trade definitely affected her sense of judgement in the whole trade. Also, it is no news that Ken Ofori Attah’s known friend and business partner Mr Trevor Trefgarne is a director of Franklin Templeton, the company that has acquired 95% of the issued bond.
These findings show a major conflict of interest. The issuance of the bond (loan) without disclosing the Finance Minister’s private relationship to the principals involved in the transaction, cabinet approval, and also without parliament’s approval raises troubling questions. The shroud of secrecy surrounding the bond sale requires immediate scrutiny to determine the extent of infraction against our financial administration Act and Risk management principles.
It is however noteworthy how President Akufo Addo during his campaign, said on national television that he would “protect the public purse”, and thus anyone seeking to make illicit money should forget about being part of his government. Yet less than 3 months into his administration, we see his cousin and Finance Minister brazenly violate Conflict of Interest rules, and make huge financial gains from an insider trade deal that benefits him, his family and business partners. Mr Ken Ofori Attah having all the inside information and its benefit thereof, favored his partners and private business to transact or purchase the bond without any public disclosure.
This transaction also reminds us of how he was able to singlehandedly contract a Ghc2 billion loan for the party from prudential bank without the party executives’ oversight.
Looking at the figures available, Ken Ofori Attah stands to make a whooping Ghc 4.4 billion within the period of this transaction. Also, this amount is likely to appreciate over 100% considering the future value of the money, while Ghana is kept on the hook for the inordinately high interest rate loan of 19.5% over 15 years.
With available facts indicating a major conflict of interest, the issuance of the bond without public debate and approval from parliament and the cabinet, we are therefore calling on all stakeholders and the Ghanaian citizenry to ask the Finance Minister to come clean about his personal stake in the bond transaction, then step aside, or resign permanently from his position. We also ask for all civil society groups to call for further scrutiny into the trade deal.
To our dismay, the self-acclaimed “incorruptible” Mr Akufo Addo has kept mute on this most scandalous financial trade deal to ever surface on our national horizon. His evasiveness, and name-calling directed a the opposition are not acceptable substitutes for answering to the Ghanaian people whom he is constitutionally bound to serve.
We the NDC USA with the above facts and figures available, demand that the Finance Minister Hon Ken ofori Attah and any other government official involved in this national theft and scandalous deal to be fired, investigated, and prosecuted. We are also requesting for an independent committee to investigate the murky details of all transactions, loans, and bonds issued under the purview of the Akufo Addo government, in the interest of protecting the public purse.