A scandalous revelation in the attempt to hijack Ghana’s mineral royalties shows that the Chairman of the Board of the State-owned Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) is on the payroll of Asaase/Agyapa Royalties Limited, a private company which was questionably selected to operate the monetisation of Ghana’s mining royalties.
Whatsup News has intercepted exclusive documents from the notorious tax haven in the British Virgin Islands where Asaase/ Agyapa Royalties’ is registered and has curiously changed its name to Agyapa Royalties Limited barely six months after its registration as Asaase Royalties.
The change of name was authorised by George Mireku Duker, the board chairman of the MIIF who is supposed to be representing the interest of the State of Ghana.
Mr. Duker, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, signed the board resolution that allowed Asaase Royalties to change its name to Agyapa Royalties.
The Resolution reads: “…We being the sole member of the company who would, at the date of these resolutions, have been entitled to vote…pass the following resolution…The Company change its name from Asaase Royalties Limited to Agyapa Royalties Limited.”
A certificate of the change of name was acquired on August 10, 2020, and three days after, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was already in Parliament arm-twisting the legislators to clandestinely pass a resolution that Ghana had forced Ghana to cede its mineral royalties to the absolute control of Agyapa Royalties.
The complex web that appears to have become a patterned modus operandi of the Akufo Addo administration will use Agyapa to perpetually seize control of 75% of all mineral royalties accruing to Ghana.
Fingers are pointing at cronies revolving around the Presidency, particularly the President’s cousin Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
The clique virtually changed an existing Ghanaian law-the MIIF Act 2018, Act 978, to insert themselves as the sole financial engineers tasked with monetising Ghana’s mineral royalties.
Former Energy Minister, John Jinapor has raised serious questions about the Agyapa deal, describing it an illegality.
Ghana makes approximately US$200 million from mineral royalties every year, however, by the Agyapa transaction, the Akufo Addo administration has given the company and its subsidiaries the greenlight to raise between $500 million and $750 for the government and in return for this future resources from gold royalties will go to Agyapa shareholders instead of the Mineral Investment Fund
Critics have pointed out that this arrangement has essentially mortgaged Ghana’s mineral royalties to Agyapa forever.
“This transaction is opaque, this transaction not satisfy best practices; this transaction is inimical to this country. This another Ameri in the making; this is another PDS in the making,” charged John Jinapor, former Energy Minister in Parliament on Friday, when the transaction was rubber stamped by the NPP Majority, despite a walk-out by the minority.
Incidentally, the drafters who amended the MIIF Act in favour of Asaase/Agyapa inserted in it that the company is neither subject to Ghana’s tax laws, nor is it subject to Ghana’s’ Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) which makes managers of such public funds accountable to the people of Ghana.
Insiders tell Whatsup News that the Akufo Addo administration is cleverly trying to push Asaase Royalties into the background, after exposure by Whatsup News and other media outlets made a connection between Asaase Royalty and the clique of the President’s “Family and friends” such as Gabby Asare Otchere Darko and Osafo Marfo, who are reportedly deeply involved in the new FM station, Asaase FM.
The Akufo Addo administration basically used consultants directly linked to the Presidency as transaction advisors, including regime-friendly law firms such as Bentsi-Entchil, Lesta & Ankomah (owned by popular lawyer Ace Annan Ankomah) and Africa Legal Services, owned by the President’s cousin and right-hand-man Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.
Whatsup News is also in possession of a June 12, 2020 memorandum from a London-based consultant Attorney General Gloria Akufo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta where it becomes apparent that the Amendment to the MIIF was drafted by a foreign private company- White and Case.