Trail Of Scandals: Ghana’s US$ 1.5 billion Mining Royalties For Company Registered 4 Months Ago

Investigations by Whatsup News has revealed that the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Asaase Royalties Limited that the Finance Minister intends to control Ghana’s mineral Royalties worth US$1.5 billion was registered only four months ago and investigators suspect it to be Pass-Through royalties company to hide taxes.

This information is still being verified. But search through the United States Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) shows that Asaase Royalties Limited was registered on March 6, 2020, and filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 5, 2020. Its Local Operating Unit (LOU) is the London Stock Exchange.

The company’s registration code is 130211 and its ISIN Code is JE00BMHKWZ51, Whatsup News can confirm.

There is no information on the company and they have no documents on SEC files. The company is supposedly headquartered in New Jersey-USA on 3RD FLOOR, 44 ESPLANADE, ST HELIER JE JE4 9WG in New Jersey, but preliminary investigations shows that the office is only currently being put together amidst increasing suspicion that the company could be a “Shell Corporation” of Ghanaian government officials for moving money internationally into tax-havens.

The company to which the Ghanaian Parliament is urgently pushing to control Ghana’s multi-billion dollar mineral royalties without controls from the Ghanaian government does not have any further information, including online.

According to investigations by Whatsup News, Asaase Royalties has a relationship with a company called the Pan African Capital Group. Interestingly, several financial tools from databank link back to Pan African Capital Group. However, many of those links do not work or require log-in codes.

Pan African Capital Group invest private equity in several sectors including mining in Ghana

The Databank Group is incidentally a company founded and owned by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and his associates.

 On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the Majority parliamentarians on the side of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) pushed through clandestine amendments to an existing minerals Act (Minerals Income Investment Fund passed in 2018, Act 978) to basically take away the Ghanaian government’s from being able to control the investment of its minerals royalties and that power handed over to Asaase Royalties Limited.

In the amendment bill that was presented to the Ghanaian Parliament by the Finance Ministry, Asaase Royalties will be absolutely independent in how it uses these minerals funds owned by the people of Ghana.

 For instance, the amendments sponsored by the Finance Ministry will ensure that Asaase Royalties and its operation with the royalties from Ghana’s mining sector is not accountable to the government and the people of Ghana as it will not be subject to the Public Financial Management Act that checks the tendency of public officials and their assigns from misapplying public funds.

“Clause 10 introduces a new provision into the Act to the effect to clarify that the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and the State Interests and Governance Authority Act, 2019 (Act 990) are not applicable to the Special Purpose Vehicle,” states the report of the Finance Committee signed by the Chairman, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah.

In the report intercepted by Whatsup News, Asaase’s income will not be subject to Ghana’s tax regime either. This is contained in Clause 7 amends section 35 of the Minerals Income Investment Fund by specifically stating that mineral income paid to Asaase will not be subjected to Ghana’s tax regime and it gives the Finance Minister an unbridled power to enter into all sorts of agreements with the Asaase SPV without recourse to the Ghanaian government.

Whatsup News gathered that it took just one day for the motion for the bill to be moved and passed. It was not debated, neither did it go through the usual processes needed for it to be passed, despite the fact that per Parliament’s standing orders, no motion should be debated less than 48 hours after it has been moved.

“The Committee determined and hereby certifies that the Bill is of an urgent nature and may be taken through all the stages of passage in one day…,” Dr. Assibey-Yeboah wrote.

Already, Whatsup News has gathered that the Finance Minister has engaged consultants who are being housed in expensive hotels and are charging mouth-watering fees, including a few persons who had worked with Databank.

Asaase will have access to 75.6% of the royalty flows from 12 producing gold mines in Ghana and would monetise these funds independently of the Ghanaian government’s prying eyes.

On Friday, July 17, 2020, approved a staggering 14 mining leases under the Asaase Royalties Limited. The new leases include existing mining companies whose lifespan were essentially prolonged by 15 more years.

This developing trend with Asaase Royalty Limited is eerily similar signature multi-billion dollar scandals linked to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, including the questionable Aker Energy deal and the defunct Power Distribution Services (PDS) deals.

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