Minister of Finance-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta says Martin Amidu erred in releasing his assessment of the Agyapa Royalties deal without giving him a fair hearing.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the former Special Prosecution did a disservice to Ghana’s democracy with the omission of his side of the story owing he breached his basic right under the 1992 Constitution.
Appearing before the Appointments Committee on Thursday, March 25. 2021, the former Finance Minister stressed the need to respect the rights of individuals adding its infringement should not be tolerated.
“I think really there’s quite a bit of cynicism around the transaction [Agyapa Deal]. And, for me, for the House, and for such as report to be put out to the public without ask of myself as Minister of Finance having a chance to discuss it, I think it is a disservice to our democracy and that is such a fundamental right that I think we all as people should be careful about such thing,” he said during his vetting Thursday.
Martin Amidu resigned from his position on Monday, November 16, 2020.
The Former Special Prosecutor attributed his resignation to the traumatic experiences he went through after releasing the findings of his corruption assessment report on the Agyapa Royalties deal.
According to him, he had received death threats after submitting a copy of the report which among other things described databank, an investment company owned by the Minister of Finance as a decoy for the Imara investment company, the transaction advisor for the Agyapa deal.
Mr. Amidu also accused the President of his failure to ensure his independence and freedom of action in the discharge of his (Amidu) duties.
“The one condition upon which I accepted to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor when you invited me to your Office on 10th January 2018 was your firm promise to me that you will respect and ensure same by your Government for my independence and freedom of action as the Special Prosecutor,” he stated in a press statement announcing his resignation.
He resigned weeks after he had submitted his corruption risk assessment report, which had not been received with applause by some elements of the governing, New Patriotic Party (NPP).
What Amidu’s report said
1.The Special Prosecutor’s work on the Agyapa deal was not an investigation. It is an audit to ensure the agreement complied with the law. The difference is that an investigation would suggest criminality.
- The appointment of the Transaction Advisor in the Agyapa deal should have been brought to parliament for approval because it is an international economic transaction. It is international because the government engaged a South African firm, IMARA Corporate Finance Limited (Pty), as a Transaction Advisor.
- In selecting the transaction advisor, the company had to get a local partner. IMARA selected Databank, but Special Prosecutor says this is a “decoy”.
- The report wants to know how Databank is being paid as a local partner. He said this arrangement is “opaque” which raises “reasonable suspicion of bid-rigging, and corruption activity, including the potential for illicit financial flows and money laundering.”
- There is a zero-chance that the advice given by the Transaction Advisor would be neutral and impartial because of individual interests at the Ministry of Finance and IMARA/Databank.
- Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance should have signed the agreement not the Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen. This is because the Public Financial Management law gives the Chief Director that power to bind the Finance Ministry to an agreement.
- Several service providers and underwriters, including Africa Legal Associates, the legal firm owned by the president’s cousin Gabby Otchere Darko, may not have been chosen on merit. This is because they were not selected in accordance with the Public Procurement Authority.
- He believes the selection of the governing board members of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) could not meet the litmus test of the prevention of corruption. The Chairman and the other Board members indicated “a real Likelihood of almost all of them being affected by partisan considerations” in the discharge of their duties.
- Parliament did not properly scrutinize the agreement, and this makes corruption attractive because “the risk is low”.
By: Bernard Ralph Adams | Originalfmonline.com | Ghana