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Agyapa deal: You did a poor job, Assibey-Yeboah tells Amidu

Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Mark Assibey-Yeboah, chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, has taken a swipe at the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, for doing a poor job on the Agyapa Royalties deal.

It follows a directive from the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, to return the much-talked about deal to Parliament for further scrutiny after a corruption risk assessment report by Amidu.

Amidu among other recommendations claimed the procurement of service providers for the transaction hints of possible cronyism and nepotism, and could result in illicit financial activities and money laundering.

However, the finance committee chairman has described the corruption risk assessment report as “sloppy.”

“Martin Amidu’s work is sloppy. You are criticizing the work of Parliament, you are doing a corruption risk assessment, I as chairman of Parliament Finance Committee, you come for our report and you don’t even know how the meetings went and you sit somewhere and you say you do not think that the finance committee did a good job,” he said.

“You pass a judgement on an arm of government and you don’t take the pain to speak to the majority leader, the chairman of the finance committee, the speaker of parliament and he thinks we should swallow hook, line and sinker what he puts out, what he puts out there are conjectures, these are hypothetical, these are hearsay, he has put out this document like a social commentator,” Assibey-Yeboah stated in an interview with Accra-based Joy FM.

Thorough job

According to him, the committee did a thorough job on the Agyapa Royalties deal.

“This is uninformed, it is uninformed, he doesn’t understand the numbers, he doesn’t understand the transaction, he is just putting things out there for the sake of doing so.

“I have been chairman of the finance committee for four years, we rejected the Ameri deal, there are things that come from government that we reject, it is not everything that we append our signature to, for me parliament has done a thorough job,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ken Ofori-Atta has responded officially to the Special Prosecutor’s corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa deal in a memo to the president.

“Prior to initiating the transaction, MoF [the Ministry of Finance] ensured to undertake all the necessary prerequisite action required by law, from the procurement of transaction advisors, to the submission of transaction documents to the AG and Parliament for their review, input and approval,” said Ofori-Atta in the memo dated 30 October 2020.

No justification 

The memo said: “There is no justifiable reason for concluding that the current members of the MIIF Board will jeopardise their apparent professional integrity and reputations to engage in corrupt practices motivated by partisan considerations.”

The memo further adds that the “MoF did not seek parliamentary approval for the Mandate Agreement, because MoF considered the role of Imara TA to be advisory, with regard to the structuring and the drafting of agreements for the IPO of Agyapa on the London Stock Exchange, the main transaction, whose agreements have all been submitted to Parliament for approval, and not to have [the] economic impact anticipated by the Supreme Court in the Balkan Energy case. 

“Similarly, MoF has not sought parliamentary approval for other international transaction advisory service agreements it has signed in the past, such as the engagement of international investment banks for Eurobond issuances, for example,” it said.

By Fred Dzakpata

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