Business News of Thu, 20 Apr 201714
Government's explanation to $2.25bn bond is hollow – Forson
The statement issued by the Ministry of Finance attempting to clarify issues surrounding the $2.25 billion bond fails to answer the fundamental questions that have been raised by Minority MPs, Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, has said.
According to him, the government has cleverly run away from the core issues that have been raised.
The Minority had indicated that the $2.25billion domestic bond was issued in “secrecy”, without parliamentary approval, and “cooked” to favour US-based investor Franklin Templeton.
Also, they indicated that Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, a director at Franklin Templeton, the institution that bought 95 per cent of the bond, is also a Director at Enterprise Group Limited, a company of which Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is co-founder, thus, raising issues of transparency, conflict of interest, and suspicion.
But addressing these matters raised by the legislators in a press statement, the Ministry of Finance described the claims as “maliciously designed to malign and negate the positive news and rave reviews this landmark transaction has garnered, both locally and internationally”.
It added: “The Ministry considers the statement as unfortunate especially as it was fronted by Hon Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister, who knows very well the workings and processes for the issue of domestic bonds and as such, should not be making such baseless allegations. As such, the Ministry has no choice but to surmise that these allegations are maliciously designed to malign and negate the positive news and rave reviews this landmark transaction has garnered, both locally and internationally.”
Reacting to the Ministry’s statement in an interview with Emefa Apawu on Class91.3FM’s 505 programme on Thursday April 20, Mr Forson, also the MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam in the Central Region, said: “It (the bond) was done to favour someone and strangely the Ministry of Finance statement failed to talk about the issue of conflict of interest.
“This is our concern, we are challenging the Ministry of Finance to come out and answer the very fundamental problems that we have seen as Minority. They are not answering that, rather they are saying that we are casting aspersions. They also say that we are seeking to malign them. We don’t seek to malign anyone, and we are asking fundamental questions because Ghanaians deserve to know. We think the processes were floored.
“…You will notice clearly that they are running away from the very statement that we made that Franklin Templeton took 95 per cent. Our point is that the bond was not competitive and because it was not competitive clearly Ghanaians may be worse off.”