Suspend controversial Agyapa Royalties deal – Ghana CSOs to gov’t

Dr. Steve Manteaw

Some civil society groups in Ghana have joined calls for the immediate suspension of the implementation of the controversial Agyapa Minerals Royalties agreement.

The group which has formed the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance is also demanding disclosure on the beneficial ownership of the entity, Agyapa Minerals Royalties.

The deal, passed by Parliament will allow Ghana to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetize its mineral income accruing monetize a sustainable and responsible manner, in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978).

The approval gives Agyapa Royalties Limited, the legal backing to secure about $1 billion to enable government finance large infrastructural projects.

At a press conference on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the CSOs, numbering 15, said the deal is not transparent, suspicious and needs to be deferred.

Chairman of the group, Dr. Steve Manteaw said: “The recent amendment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund creates more suspicion. The rushed amendment and inserting worrying clauses including clauses that leaves a special purpose vehicle; Agyapa Royalties above Ghanaian tax laws, outweighs Ghana’s immunity and by that, expose Ghana to the risk of damaging lawsuits should any future government seek to reverse this transaction.”

“What we find even more repulsive about this whole transaction is the provision that permits Agyapa Royalties, a supposed company of the sovereign state, to register in tax payments to borrow money or raise equity in foreign currency from any source on the back of the gold royalties of Ghanaians without the requirement of any further approval, consent and administrative Act of the Government of Ghana. This provision takes Agyapa Royalties away from parliamentary oversight and control”, he added.

Already, the deal has been criticized by many who described it as mortgaging Ghana’s mineral resources.

National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Mahama also described the deal as questionable whilst a presidential aspirant of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), William Dowokpor, called it fraudulent.

Strong defense

But the Minerals Income and Investment Fund (MIIF) has defended the integrity of the agreements monetizes the country’s gold royalties monetizemonetizeoyalties Limited.

Describing it as a “forward-thinking” endeavour, the Fund said the deal was “being created with Ghanaians’ best interests at heart.”

It assured of its transparency noting that it was listed on both the Ghana and London Stock Exchange, which mandates full disclosure from shareholders.

The Fund further refuted claims it was owned by President Akufo-Addo.

It said, currently, MIIF is the sole shareholder of Agyapa Royalties, an SPV that is expected to be listed on the London and Ghana Stock exchanges.

“Regardless of who is in power, the MIIF is the custodian of Ghana’s future mineral revenues in terms of the MIIF Act.”

“In general, Ghanaians will benefit because the capital raised “will finance strategic capital investments such as infrastructure and also mining in collaboration with local equity participants to spur socio-economic development,” it added.

Source: Daily Mail GH with additional files from CNR

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