“Twedeampon Nyame Kwame, AsaaseYaa, Ghana ada adegya. Ghana apa neho ntoma pa”. Ghana “montie, enti yenie”, we have become unclothed in a leadership and moral crisis, as we carry our “GOLD BARS IN GHANA MUST GO BAGS” to leverage our financial nudity at the London Stock Exchange.
“Donkomi donkomi” discounted former Gold Coast, now Ghana gold Royalty shares, “obiara mbeto bi”. Come one come all! And, we are doing this in an expertise pageantry convoy with bold pretext, after we have squandered our equity stake in principal gold mines. “Ayekoo”, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana!
The Agyapa deal is a big deal because it is more of a desperate bankruptcy rescue mission than a complex “Father Christmas” innovation to strengthen our wealth base.
Let us put the structural competence of the deal aside for a moment and focus on the challenge of its contextual relevance which should interest Special Prosecutor, Hon Amidu.
Is it not a fact that as Attorney General in the zero tolerance for corruption era, H.E. Akufo- Addo in a rather transparent conflict of interest, stated, “how do you expect me to prosecute my cousin”? This was after an investigative dossier was handed to him by Mr Kudjo, then head of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO, now Eoco) with regard to Mr Ken Ofori Attah, the current Finance Minister.
Yet, in a “see no evil” selective self – rendered prosecutorial incapacity and NPP policy of “Katawodieso” and covert deal-making, some exemplary cases for the masses such as the GNPC causing financial loss case against Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata were prosecuted.
The SFO case involved failure by Mr Ken Ofori Attah/ Data Bank to implement a real estate heaven on earth project known as Obotan with regard to $2m of SSNIT funds. The $2m was reportedly much later returned to SSNIT with a publicly stated unwillingness to pay accrued INTEREST after the $2m had been kept in the custody of the investment bank and the visionary Expert chest of Mr Ken Ofori Attah without the expected project delivery.
Indeed a forensic audit of SSNIT transactions reveal that Societe’ General paid $12m for about 60% to 70% equity holding regarding the acquisition of SSB. There was a circuitous chase without Auditors being able to track the $12m payment which had supposedly been issued. Yet SSNIT was unable to provide any concrete evidence of payment. Mr Ken Ofori Attah / Data- bank were the transaction advisors on this deal just as for the Agyapa deal. What happened to the $12m? Why can the Databank experts not locate the funds or make a public disclosure of the discovery and where the funds had been if it has been found?
• Most Respectfully, why has our esteemed President H.E. Akufo- Addo appointed him allegedly widely acclaimed, principal Presidential-bid sponsor and NPP financier, Mr Ken Ofori Attah over our sovereign funds as Finance Minister? Is there not an inherent conflict of interest? Would financial engineering be pursued for National interest or would NPP party Presidential POWER-hold be paramount? Does the bible not say thou shall not tempt thy neighbour?
Can anyone imagine Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, an alleged widely acclaimed sponsor of the late H.E. Attah Mills Presidential -bid and principal NDC financier who was allegedly involved with financial engineering that led to the infamous Woyome scandal being made Finance Minister in an NDC regime? Mr Woyome’s alleged crime was that he was paid Ghc51m for no work done though some Judges swear he is entitled to the payment.
In principle what is the difference in substance between the Woyome case and the Obotan case? Prosecution? Essentially both involve holding on to state funds without project delivery. Why is one a wrongful or fraudulent payment which must be refunded with interest and the other not?
• Most respectfully why has our President appointed Mr. Yaw Osafo Marfo with a Mcmillan book corruption baggage and a barber shop investment scandal trail, as our Senior Minister with an integral financial role. This is after Mr. President’s public anti- corruption stance which has led to the S.P offices of Mr Amidu who vigorously pursued Mr Woyome to our applause?
Does His Excellency, our anti- corruption President, not see any inconsistency and inherent conflicts in these two key appointments of Finance Minister and Senior Minister which fuel trust issues in financial governance?
Does Mr. President not see that when Mr Ofori Attah and Mr. Osafo Marfo Snr put together an Agyapa Royalty gold deal with His son Kofi Osafo Marfo recruited or shall we say sole-sourced by some California based head hunter from under our SSNIT noses to run the SPV without accountability, AND, Databank with its fiduciary and loyalty linkage to Mr. Ken Ofori Attah is chosen as the transaction advisors, and Mr Okyere Darko’s law firm is also involved, this raises serious self-dealing, transparency and prudential issues relating to financial management?
We honestly do not believe the hullabaloo story about this dollar $$$ wasting recruitment.
Suppose a cynic were to ask, Agyapa SPV has no national controls if the $1bn lump sum payment prior to the IPO or part of national dividends were to be lodged in a non -traceable private account for temporary or permanent interest benefits before the funds were perhaps partially deposited in the Jersey haven, who would track that? The London Stock Exchange? Why are we so desperate for tax-free dividends as to cede complete sovereign control to the LSE?
The above hypothetical is not merely speculative but grounded in a factual example. Indeed forensic audit of the erstwhile Ghana Airways revealed that a foreign £4m U.K loan which had sovereign guarantee arrived in Ghana without £1m which had been lodged in an untraceable “THE ACCOUNT” under the H.E. JJ Rawlings civilian regime.
The “Agyapa” kind of deal is susceptible as a corruption harbinger to grease party machinery. If the NDC conceived a similar deal, are they crying foul due to their knowledge of a hidden” “Nokofio”? Giving intertwined self-dealing does the potential for manipulation due to extraneous interests rather than national interest not exist? Objective strict scrutiny ought to be mandatory.
Let us ask a poignant question, why is the Expertise of Mr Ken Ofori Attah for example more important than the expertise of the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Domelevo? Is expertise the only consideration for appointments without due consideration of Reputation and Integrity? If we can ignore or forgive Mr KEN Ofori Attah/ Databank for “transactional Advisory inefficiencies” with regard to non-delivery on Obotan and tracking of $12m SSNIT funds why could our President not ignore or forgive Domelovo’s “crime” of not taken his leave? The issue of this intellectual waste is about selective injustice. It also does not signify an anti-corruption impetus or principled leadership.
AGYAPA: GROUNDED FACTS:
The Fact is, interest on debt has moved from 10 billion ghc in 2016 to 26billon ghc under H. E. Akufo Addo dream team of financial experts. Debt to GDP ratio has also moved from 57% to 75% over the same period. Interest and debt amortization is 38 billion ghc per year as against gross revenue of 42 billion ghc. This means we have hardly enough to fund recurrent expenditure let alone capital projects.
We have obviously distressed our balance of payments and downgraded our international credit rating. The mortgaged future royalty payment that collateralize and underpin the lump sum payment /IPO has been described as not being a mortgage.
Propaganda of the packaging of the SPV as complicated financial engineering is just decorum on a Ghana beyond SHAME intervention. The ever- borrowing H.E. Akufo – Addo government’s nucleus of expert advisors promised us a Ghana beyond AID as well as a lean clean, efficient non – borrowing governance, but have failed us in these foundational promises.
Our Vice President has even earned the unenviable title H.E. “Borrowmia”. Indeed the globe-trotting excessive borrowing by the “lalasulala” economic management team contradicts key promises. We have run into an economic stalemate. They have failed to harness the supposed sufficient internal revenue sources as promised.
This in part explains the gold rush ratification of Agyapa gold Royalty legislation through a 4th Republican rubber-stamping Majority and an opposition which has perennial paralysis. This has turned our governments into default one-party dictatorships.
Our country’s lost dignity and financial desperation may well be evident in our Agyapa SPV compromise for a legal tax haven in spite of brow-raising reputation connotations.
The Agyapa gold Royalty deal has become an election issue with popular demand for review because President Nana Akufo – Addo has disappointed our expectation that he will be a corruption fighting super- General and is running a government with serious question Mark’s on financial propriety to our utmost dismay. So that when we are told that a $2.25 billion kenbond issuance with high interest rate is primarily swooped up quickly by the Finance Minister’s alleged Franklin Templeton business affiliate without backdoor dealings, it does not have a ring of truth and we think it is incredible news.
We also have a Bost oil resale with a suspicious BNI – muscled clearance to muffle dissenting voices, Kelni GVG , PDS “kululu”, and the Ameri revisited that resulted in the former Energy Minister Agyarko’s firing, seeming like a palpable fall guy scenario. The staged Presidential innocence is truly unconvincing. The government has been saying the Agyapa deal is a “done deal that shall not halt,” “yentie obia” but CSO’s come and talk to us in usual inconsistency!
One may ask was Kofi Osafo Maafo not strategically posted to SSNIT to have a loyalty NPP fund management oversight over the cash- cow kitty of the pension fund which has catapulted him to Royalty status to manage the Agyapa Gold SPV?
Perhaps his mega expertise was to give SSNIT a facelift from corruption doldrums and historic abuse of pension funds, but has he finished project rescue mission?
The SSNIT led ADINKRA real estate development opposite
Jubilee House seems stalled with the pension funds idling.
Yet, Has Kofi Osafo Maafo not finished preparing the SSNIT fertile grounds to make a characteristic corporate investment in Agyapa IPO to make it over subscribed and hugely successful ?
The interesting irony about all the expertise taunt regarding the Agyapa SPV is what we see on the ground: an NPP that has allowed the elite party Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia with courage and renowned intellect, revived from the defeated ashes of its UGCC roots, to a resounding Progress Party victory with others of his dignified ilk, to descend to gutter level politics of the Wontumi variety, with violent kin-pins and party boot- lickers who allegedly sell ceased Gallamsey escalators in an era of fierce war against gallamsey!
Is this not a turmoil of a leadership challenge when bandits can traumatize a court of law to free their cohorts and be let off the hook with small fines paid off by party apparatchiks because they are afraid the nebulous hungry youth who they induct into vigilante wars will not vote for them? So, we as a nation placate unruly criminal conduct.
We are in a Ghana where key recommendations of the Emile Short commission can be set aside in a tainted White Paper in classic inconsistency by a sitting government that has passed an anti – vigilante legislation.
We are in a Ghana where our National Security Minister, Hon Albert Kan Dapaa cannot be sacked after subjecting our country to international ridicule, by his rotating puppetry display for his remote dance- hall gyrating command controller, as preparation for an international security meeting. This infidelity expose’ to his security portfolio and disgrace to the image and dignity of our country can be ignored, but our hardworking dedicated Auditor General must be sacked because National Security unaccountable slush funds does fund elections?
Our moral morass is exemplified by our students parading sex videos and demanding to cheat at exams as a child right. We have lost the rights to reformatory reprimand because they are mimicking national role models in a no sanctions Ghana.
Hello Mr President, we are not saying unfairly, that family, friends etc are per-se excluded from governance. We are saying that the general tenor of appointments after criticising the NDC and the incestuous self-dealing on this significant national project makes it preposterous as though the Agyapa Royalty Gold SPV were a family business. We also need to know exactly how the serious objections of the relational Attorney General Hon. Gloria Akuffo has been addressed regarding issues of legality and unconscionability.
This is why from what our insightful lenses show us on the ground, we do not believe we have any good shepherding father in contemporary Ghanaian politics. Indeed the name “Agyapa” for the Gold Royalty SPV deal is a puzzle of cathedral proportions and even potentially blasphemous.
The fact is: Ghana is “broke” and needs cash, NOW, so we are being offered Agyapa Royalty Gold IPO crumbs as a life support bitter pill to self- resuscitate. And, that is all.
Nana Afua Frema Busia, © 2020
The author : NanaFremaBusia