General News of 2013-12-05

Kufuor: I did not sell Ghana's 'golden shares' in AGC

Former president John Agyekum Kufuor has described as inaccurate, the claim that his administration gave away a substantial amount of Ghana's interest in Ashanti Goldfields Company to Anglogold Ashanti.

Former Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency, Dr. Tony Aidoo on Wednesday said the Kufuor administration behaved "irresponsibly" by selling government's 25 per cent "golden shares" in the only indigenous Ghanaian mining firm, Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC) in 2004.

"The only indigenous company we set up, nurtured and promoted to international stature was destroyed by a previous government. The Kufuor regime came out and destroyed the Ashanti Goldfields...by selling the 25 per cent golden share that gave the government of Ghana the corporate veto over any corporate decision taken by AGC.

"I was holding four million Ghana cedis shares. At the end of the day, the value of my shares were 4,000 ghana cedis," Dr. Tony Aidoo said on the Super Morning Show.

But in a reaction, Mr. Frank Agyekum, Spokesperson to the former president said, the Kufuor administration rather doubled Ghana's share value as well as representation on the management board of Anglogold Ashanti.

"In 2001 when we [New Patriotic Party] came to power, Ghana's share in AGC had dwindled to 15 percent and was valued at 120million dollars...the NPP increased this to 350million dollars and doubled Ghana's representation on the management board," Mr. Agyekum stated Thursday on Joy FM's Super Morning Show.

He said the government also ensured that the name Ashanti was maintained after the merger between Ashanti Goldfields Company and Anglogold. The company became a leading global gold producer under the name, Anglogold Ashanti Limited.

In a follow-up interview with Myjoyonline.com, Mr. Agyekum said Ghana's 'Golden shares' in Anglogold were maintained, insisting that the veto power the country held in the firm "did not mean anything at the time the AGC merged with Anglogold".

He said it was the NDC that was rather in the business of selling the shares in the mining firm as it sold additional shares the state owned in the company when the late president John Atta Mills took over power in 2009.

"If any government has been in the business of selling shares of Ashanti Gold it is not NPP; it is NDC. At the time they came to power we had acquired additional shares worth over 60million dollars but they [NDC] sold it for over a 100million dollars".