President Nana Akufo-Addo has served notice to Parliament that the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal will return despite the huge public backlash that greeted it.
“The government will come back to engage the House on the steps it intends to take on the future of the Agyapa transaction,” Akufo-Addo said during Tuesday’s State of the Address Address (SONA), the first for his second term.
Transparency International has urged the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to make detailed inquiries into the Government of Ghana’s application to list Agyapa Royalties Limited on the London Stock Exchange, and to reject the listing if corruption concerns are not satisfactorily addressed. The banks and lawyers involved in the deal have also been urged to withdraw their engagement.
Agyapa Royalties Limited is a Jersey-based special purpose vehicle that would 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 fallout in Ghana. Forty-nine per cent of shares in Agyapa Royalties are to be sold through a listing on the London Stock Exchange.
In a submission to the FCA – and forwarded to J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch International and law firm White and Case – Transparency International detailed concerns shared by a coalition of almost 30 Ghanaian 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.”
About the Agyapa deal
Parliament on August 14th approved the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana despite a walkout by the Minority.
Two years ago, the House passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018 which establishes the Fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies, and receive royalties on behalf of government.
The fund is supposed to manage and invest these royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.
The law allows the fund to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to use for the appropriate investments. Last month, government introduced an amendment to the act to ensure that the SPVs have unfettered independence.
The approval will enable the country to use a special purpose vehicle, Agyapa Royalties Limited to secure about $1 billion to finance large infrastructural projects.
In line with that, Agyapa, which will operate as an independent private sector entity, will be able to raise funds from the capital market, both locally and internationally, as an alternative to the conventional debt capital market transactions.
The funds, which are expected to be raised from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), will be a long-term capital, without a corresponding increase in Ghana’s total debt stock and hence without a public debt repayment obligation.
Special Prosecutor on Agyapa
Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has called on the Finance Ministry to hold on with its scheduled initial Public Offer (IPO) on the Agyapa royalties deal until he is done with his corruption risk assessment on the transaction.
“This Office would have wished to complete its corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa Royalties Transaction soonest but for 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,” Mr Amidu said in a letter to the Finance Ministry.
The letter added: “Information and documents relating to the identification and recommendation by the transaction advisors to your Ministry for appointment 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, that are critical to any through corruption risk assessment are also outstanding. 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.”
“In the circumstances, 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,” it noted.
Source: Daily Mail GH