Court adjourns hearing in $2.25 bn bond case against Ofori-Atta
The Supreme Court has adjourned the case in which the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori -Atta, has been sued over claims of conflict of interest in the April 2017 $2.25 billion bond issue.
The adjournment follows procedural errors by lawyers of the applicants in the case, Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana (DYMOG), who failed to comply with the rules on filing the agreed memorandum of issues.
While the court ordered all parties in the case to file a joint memorandum of issues in its last hearing, the lawyers for the applicants failed to do so by filing separate issues for adjudication without the consent of the defendants.
The Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana, DYMOG, in January 2018 sued the Finance Minister, the Attorney General over the $2.25 billion bond issue.
The group, in its suit, is invoking the proper jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret Article 284 of the 1992 constitution.
This was after CHRAJ cleared the Finance Minister of conflict of interest allegations following a petition forwarded by a National Democratic Congress (NDC) member, Brogya Genfi.
The controversy over the bond began after the Minority called for a full-scale parliamentary probe into how persons they referred to as very close friends of the Finance Minister, purchased 95 percent of the $2.25 billion bond issue in April 2017.
The NDC’s Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer, Yaw Brongya Genfi, subsequently petitioned CHRAJ to investigate the bond on grounds that Mr. Ofori Atta attempted to promote a personal interest for himself, as well as family and friends,.
On the substantive matter of conflict of interest, CHRAJ cleared Mr. Ofori-Atta of any wrongdoing, stating that, “on the basis of the evidence available to the Commission, it has come to the conclusion and therefore holds that, the allegations by the complainant that the respondent has contravened Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution by putting himself in a conflict of interest situation in relation to the issuance of the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds, have not been substantiated.”
CHRAJ, however said that the Finance Minister breached certain processes in the issuance of the bond.
In its 140-page report on the matter, CHRAJ made some suggestions to the Minister of Finance to ensure that due diligence is ensured in subsequent deals.
Among other directives, it said the Minister must pass regulations to monitor the format of and criteria for the auctions, and the procedures for participation, bidding, and allocation in auctions in relation to the issuance of securities in the domestic market.
CHRAJ further charged the Minister take measures in preventing Primary Dealers who are also bookrunners or transaction Advisors from gaining the unfair advantage because of their dual roles.
It had found that the Primary Dealers also doubled up as bookrunners or transaction advisors, and that dual role gave them an undue advantage.