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Agyapa deal: Pull brakes on IPO, produce outstanding documents – Special Prosecutor to Finance Ministry

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has advised government to pull the brakes on its planned launch of an Initial Public Offer (IPO) regarding the Agyapa Royalties agreement.

According to Martin Amidu, the move is to allow his outfit the opportunity to conclude its ongoing corruption risk assessment.

Government says the new agreement is expected to enable the country to use a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Agyapa Royalties Limited, to secure about $1 billion to finance infrastructural projects.

But the OSP, in a letter to the Finance Ministry, explained that “the non-submission of the information and documents pending to be submitted by your Ministry.

“The information and documents you supplied concerned mainly the processes for and the appointment of the Transaction Advisors which goes to the root of any corruption risk assessment.”

The Minority in Parliament haS demanded the withdrawal of the contract with Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited over what it believes is an opaque attempt by the NPP-led administration to syphon public funds for their parochial interest.

The Special Prosecutor, in September, began a probe into the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal and wrote officially to Parliament requesting for information on the deal.

In a September 10, 2020, letter to the clerk of Parliament, the Special Prosecutor said his investigation is in pursuit of his Office’s mandate to exercise the functions and powers of the prevention of corruption.

But in a recent letter, the OSP has decried the inability of the Finance Ministry to furnish it with the relevant documents needed to facilitate key aspects of the ongoing probe.

Based on these, Mr Amidu believes it will be a premature decision to go through with the launch of the IPO without clearing the fine details relating to the SPV.

“This Office wishes to urge you to abide by the results of the corruption risk assessment it is undertaking on the transaction before moving to the launching of the IPO transaction.

“This Office makes this suggestion on the grounds of prudence on your part and to also not give the impression that the mandate of this Office on prevention of corruption is of no consequence to the transaction,”

The letter also gave some specifics into the documents required to see through the ongoing corruption risk assessment which are yet to reach the OSP.

The OSP is demanding “information and documents relating to the identification and recommendation by the transaction advisors to your Ministry for appointment.”

It also wants to be furnished with “a list of other services providers and or underwriters that may be required to complete the transaction as provided in clause 2.2.1 of the mandate agreement amongst others.”

“The legal opinions particularly of the principal legal advisor to the government under the Constitution are relevant to ensure compliance with her recommendations as part of any corruption risk assessment,” the letter also stated.

The agreement which is said to be in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978), was passed without support from the Minority in Parliament.

Some CSOs in the country have already expressed concern about what they describe as a lack of openness and transparency that has characterised the transaction, a position which the government has vehemently justified.

Deputy Finance Minister Charles Boahene has said money being raised from the Agyapa Royalties deal will be invested in key infrastructural projects in the country, with a special focus on the mining communities.

“We want to focus on investing in 4 broad key areas. Primary capital expenditures in education, in health, in housing and in infrastructure,” he said at a press conference on August 28, adding that these investments will help create more value along the gold value chain.

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