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File your arguments in 21 days – SC to parties in $2.25bn bond case

Wed, 4 Dec 2019 Source: Class FM

The Supreme Court has asked the Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana (DYMOG) and the Attorney General, plaintiff and defendant, respectively, to submit their written arguments in the case in which Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has been sued in connection with the issuance of a $2.25 billion bond in 2017.

The court said the two parties must submit their arguments at the same time to enable the Bench to study them and set a date for judgement.

DYMOG dragged Mr Ofori-Atta, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Attorney General to court after expressing dissatisfaction with CHRAJ’s probe of the same issue.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) had raised the funds through 15- and 7-year bonds with the coupon rate of 19.5%. The ministry further raised an additional amount from another 5- and 10-year bonds and by 3 April 2017, the MoF said it had $2.25 billion funds.

Critics raised issues of conflict of interest after US firm Franklin Templeton subscribed to the bonds.

A director of the firm named Trevor Trefgarne was alleged to also be a director of Enterprise Insurance, one of the investments of the Finance Minister.

DYMOG, who dismissed CHRAJ’s clearance of the Finance Minister, said it filed the suit to pray the apex court for, among other things, a declaration that by going beyond investigations to make a pronouncement (of guilt or otherwise) on the 1st Defendant [Ken Ofori Atta] in respect of the allegation of breach of conflict of interest, the 2nd Defendant [CHRAJ] contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.

DYMOG is also seeking the Supreme Court to declare that by interpreting Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution (as disclosed between paragraph 3 of page 127 and paragraph 3 of page 133 of the Report), CHRAJ has contravened Article 130(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution; and also a consequential order that the content of the report as specified in reliefs (a) and (b) above be expunged from the Report.

The reliefs sought by the plaintiff are as follows:

A declaration that by going beyond investigations to make a pronouncement (of guilt or otherwise) on the 1st Defendant in respect of the allegation of breach of conflict of interest, the 2nd Defendant has contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.

A declaration that by interpreting Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution (as disclosed between paragraph 3 of page 127 and paragraph 3 of page 133 of the Report), the 2nd Defendant has contravened Article 130(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution;

A consequential order that the content of the report as specified in the reliefs above be expunged from the Report;

A declaration that the failure of the 1st Defendant to declare his shareholding interests in Data Bank Financial Services Limited, Data Bank Brokerage Limited and Data Bank Financial Holdings Limited to the Auditor-General before taking office as Minister of Finance, as found by the 2nd Defendant at page 120 of the Report, contravenes Article 286(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution;

A declaration that the occupation by the 1st Defendant of the office of a director in Ventures and Acquisition Limited, a private company, while in office as the Minister responsible for finance without the due permission of the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament on the grounds stated by the law, contravenes Articles 78(3) of the 1992 Constitution;

A declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds to Templeton without disclosing his relational interest with a director at Templeton, one Trevor G. Trefgarne, the 1st Defendant has acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution;

A declaration that by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds without disclosing his interests in the securities industries in general, the 1st Defendant has acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution; and any other reliefs that this Honourable Court deems fit under the circumstances.

Source: Class FM

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