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Transparency International advises UK financial institutions to withdraw from Agyapa deal

Ken Ofori Atta.png?fit=800%2C450&ssl=1 Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

Wed, 23 Dec 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Transparency International has urged the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to review the Government of Ghana’s application to list Agyapa Royalties Limited on the London Stock Exchange and reject the listing if corruption concerns are not satisfactorily addressed.

According to a message cited by GhanaWeb on Transparency International’s website dated December 22, 2020, the organisation also asked the banks and lawyers involved in the deal to withdraw their engagement.

The Agyapa Royalties Limited is a Jersey-based Special Purpose Vehicle that will own almost 76 per cent of the royalties generated from 16 large gold mines in Ghana under a scheme that has caused controversy and political fallouts in Ghana.

Forty-nine per cent of the shares in Agyapa Royalties are to be sold through a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Martin Amidu, the former Special Prosecutor, raised red flags over the risks of money laundering in the deal and possible bid-rigging in contracting the transaction advisors.

Amidu, who publicly shared his corruption risk assessment report in November, gave further impetus to the advocacy for a review of the Agyapa Royalties deal.

Transparency International in a submission to the FCA – and forwarded to J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and International law firm White and Case – detailed concerns shared by a coalition of almost 30 local and international civil society organisations that the deal smacks of corruption.

Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana chapter of Transparency International said:

“There are serious red flags in how this deal was set up. Concerns have been raised by civil society actors around inadequate stakeholder consultation, transparency and the valuation of the deal. Other concerns bother on the way transaction advisors became involved in the process and a lack of public oversight over the company at the heart of the deal. It is crucial for Ghana that the western financial institutions and regulators involved in this deal take these concerns seriously. They must not facilitate schemes that may end up plundering Ghana’s mineral resources in the name of investment.”

President Akufo-Addo asked Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister to send the relevant documents back to the Parliament of Ghana for a review but it is not likely that the matter will be discussed before the term of the present Parliament expires on 6 January 2021 at 11:59 pm.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com