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15 CSOs call for suspension of Agyapa Minerals Royalties agreement

The Agyapa Minerals Royalties agreement has come under scrutiny, with some CSOs demanding its suspension over a “lack of transparency”

Fifteen civil society organisations (CSOs) have called for the Agyapa Minerals Royalties to be suspended immediately, citing their concern about what they describe as a lack of openness and transparency that has characterised the transaction.

The CSOs said they want the deal to be put on hold until all necessary documents have been disclosed.

The group, under the banner name “Alliance of CSOs Working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance”, made this announcement at a press briefing on Tuesday 25 August.

According to the CSOs, many questions regarding the agreement remain unanswered and will need to be addressed before the deal moves on.

Call for clarity

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Steve Manteaw called on the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to give more clarity on the deal.

“While we welcome the open and transparent process for selection relative to this particular assignment, we have no evidence of the same openness in the creation of the special-purpose vehicle in the Agyapa deal and the appointment of its directors,” he said.

The CSOs noted that despite attempts by government officials to explain the details of the agreement, more questions remained unanswered.

Dr Manteaw, who is the communications director of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), said the government needs to offer clarity on how the fund will work and how the people in charge of it were chosen.

“We acknowledge that post-mortem attempts are being made to engage the public by the MIIF Secretariat to provide answers to some questions Ghanaians have on the Agyapa transactions,” he said. “This, in fact, underscores the point that prior engagement would have better served the national interest.

“But regardless of the attempt to clarify some concerns, significant questions remain unanswered. Are the managers and directors of Agyapa not politically exposed people? And were they not selected through an uncompetitive process?

“Again, it beats our imagination as to why an entity without a corporate strategy and approved funding plans will proceed to raise US$1 billion and give US$500 million to the government in such an indecent deal, especially when there is no known emergency to warrant such rush.”

“Bad signal to investors”

Meanwhile, Seth Terkper, a former finance minister, has kicked against the Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal.

According to the ex-minister, the agreement sends a very bad signal to foreign investors, especially as Ghana is under a money-laundering watch.

He described the Agyapa agreement as a “shady transaction” that could backfire and deter investors from approaching Ghana.

“First of all, you are under a money-laundering watch which may be the result of using investors [both local and foreign] as conduits for shady tax transactions and investments, and this is likely to accentuate why [the country] is under a money laundering watch,” Terkper told Joy FM.

The government, however, maintains that there is nothing untoward about the deal and the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong, has offered assurances that Ghana will retain its majority stake in future royalties.

E A Alanore

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

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