Business News of Fri, 9 Jun 20179

US SEC begins probe into $ 2.25bn bond issue

The Minority’s petition to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has triggered a full blown investigation into allegations of conflict of interest and insider trading in the recent 2.25 billion dollar bond issue by the Akufo-Addo government.

According to the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a case manager, Jennifer M. Carr, has been handed the brief to commence the probe.

“I can confirm to you that the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States of America has formally communicated to us and informed us that a case manager by name Jennifer M. Carr has been appointed as the case manager on this case.”

“The communication indicates that they are launching a full scale investigation into the US 2.25 billion bond issue which as you do know has generated considerable controversies. We still insist that there is the need to raise concerns over the general lack of transparency, the general abuse of process, conflict of interest and violation of the laws of Ghana and other international financial laws, and that is why we continue to ask all the questions,” Mr. Sam Okudzeto said.

The move is the latest twist to the bond controversy after Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, appeared in Parliament last Wednesday to respond to a half hour motion.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku that the Minority would explore all options available to prove that the bond was not issued in the right manner.

“Unfortunately, when the Finance Minister appeared before Parliament, he did not satisfy all the questions we had asked of him in our half hour motion. Our half hour motion was very specific. We wanted full documentation. As we speak, we do not have the prospectus. He did not submit the agreement that had been signed between the book runners, the government of Ghana and Franklin Templeton , we don’t have that agreement…so we will continue to pursue this matter,” he explained.

Background

Concerns have been raised especially by the Minority about the transparency of the $2.25 billion domestic bond government issued, with some noting that the apparent secrecy over the deal fueled the allegations of conflict of interest against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta.

The Minority in its conflict of interest allegations, said a non-executive director on the board of Investment Firm, Franklin Templeton, who purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond, is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group, which has links to the Attorney-General and the Finance Minister.

The Minority eventually called for a full-scale parliamentary probe into the bond issue. It also petitioned the United States Security Exchange Commission to probe the deal they believe was secured to benefit cronies.

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