General News of Mon, 5 Jun 201716

Petition against Finance Minister 'bogus' - Attorney-General

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has described as baseless and unjustifiable a petition by Yaw Brogya Genfi, Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate government’s recent issue of a US$2.25 billion bond.

A letter reacting to CHRAJ’s invitation to the Minister of Finance signed by Godfred Yeboah Dame, Deputy Attorney-General & Deputy Minister for Justice, for the Attorney-General & Minister for Justice, said the Finance Minister and his outfit did not contravene Article 284 of the Constitution as indicated by the petitioner.

“The Ministry of Finance and the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta (respondent) categorically deny the allegations and assert that (a) there has been no breach of any of the laws or rules governing the issue of bonds; (b) the allegations of the complainant are based on plain falsehoods, and (c) there has been no conflict of interest involving the respondent.”

The Attorney-General also said no distinct particulars of conflict were made out by the complainant in his petition in order to aid in an efficient determination of the claims by petitioner and to shed light on the full circumstances of the issuance of the bonds in question by the Government of Ghana (GoG).

It further explained that none of the Guidelines for the Government Securities Market for Primary Dealers had been breached.

“The complainant has woefully failed to indicate which rule was breached in the issue of the Bonds in question. The reason is more than apparent – no rule was breached, and there was strict compliance. We respectfully request the Commission to reject this petition as conjectural, spurious and trumped up.”

Reacting to the allegation that the 7-year and 15-year bonds were not on the issuance calendar, the Minister for Justice, submitted that such an allegation raised in the petition did not impinge on conflict of interest.

Also, on the one that said the initial pricing guidelines of the bond were issued around 5.37pm on March 30, 2017 by email, which was after normal working hours, she replied: “This is a completely false and misleading allegation. We reject it outright and respectfully urge the Commission to reject it as well.”

She also described as palpably falsehood the petitioner’s allegation that public announcement of the transaction was sent by email at approximately 9.09 am on March 31, 2017, which meant that the transaction was opened before the announcement was made to the public.

Reacting to another allegation that said that one single investor, Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, an American global investment organisation founded in 1947), purchased almost 95 percent of the Bond issued by the Minister for Finance, the Attorney General highlighted: “The Ministry of Finance, in the matter of the issue of Bonds, does not transact with any investor. All transactions are carried out by Book Runners designated by the Bank of Ghana as Primary Dealers.”

“Further, there is no law or regulation that imposes a limit on the amount of an investor’s offer. The transaction processes for this issuance did not deviate from previous issuances, as to lead to a finding that Franklin Templeton was favoured.

“The records will show that Franklin Templeton has always, through primary dealers licensed by Bank of Ghana, invested in Ghana’s bonds in a way no different from the instant one in dispute.”

Additionally, the Attorney General indicated that the investor in the Bonds, Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, was a corporate person and not an individual.

Also neither the Ministry of Finance nor Minister for Finance (respondent) hereto had any interest in the said corporate body.

“Respondent has, at no point in time, held any shares or directorship in the company Franklin Templeton.

“The transaction in issue, as abundantly demonstrated above, was conducted by Transaction Advisers licensed by Bank of Ghana to carry out the function, not the Ministry of Finance or the Minister for Finance.”

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