After issuing a press statement seeking to debunk around the shady transaction between the Akufo Addo-inspired Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) and the shady tax haven deal with Asaase/Agyapa Royalties, officials of MIIF have scrambled and gone underground.
This has reinforced an otherwise strong suspicion that the entire deal to hand over some $ 200 million of Ghana’s mineral royalties annually to a shady company Asaase/Agyapa, was being hatched in the bedroom of some faceless individuals at the Jubilee House.
Last week Thursday August 20, 2020, Whatsup News visited the Cantonments offices of MIIF to find a virtually deserted office. This publication had sought to verify the authenticity of the press statement allegedly emanating from MIIF.
However, upon visiting the MIIF offices, it became apparent despite having entered into a US$ 500 million deal with Asaase/Agyapa Royalties from the notorious tax haven in Jersey on the British Virgin Islands, MIIF office was non-operational. It has just a few skeletal staff in what was apparent that the office was not in use.
The MIIF statement issued on August 20, 2020, claiming the Asaase/Agyapa transaction was legitimate was reportedly issued by the Public Relations Unit of MIIF. However, an on-site visit revealed that there was no such unit in existence at MIIF as the stunned receptionists at the vacant office struggled to figure out who their PR officials were.
After much haggling, they directed Whatsup News to call one “Charles” who they claim to be a lawyer for MIIF and could attend to issues pertaining to the fund. A telephone conversation with Charles however, proved that he had no idea where the statement originated from as he tried to fence with the question and claiming harassment by the paper.
There are rife suspicions that President Akufo Addo’s cousin and right-hand-man, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko may have been behind the press statement because the mystery around its origins and the fact that that same day, Gabby had issued a statement on his Facebook wall seeking to speak on behalf of Asaase/Agyapa and MIIF forced critics to draw the link.
All attempt by the Whatsup News to speak to Gabby proves futile.
On the 24th March 2020, President Akufo Addo gave an Executive Approval for the amendment of the Minerakl Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 and the execution of the Investment Agreement, Relationship Agreement and Indemnity Deed Letter to set in motion an order to operationalize provisions of the Act.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a triangle around President Akufo Addo reported to be behind the setting up of the questionable Special Purpose Vehicle called Asaase/Agyapa Royalties set up in a tax haven known to be a frequented playground of corrupt politicians seeking to hide public funds.
The triangle had set up a convoluted scheme where Asaase/Agyapa will provide Ghana an unprovoked US$ 500 million deal in return for enjoying some US$ 100 million of Ghana’s mineral royalties forever as a 49% shareholder of a plan to “monetise” those royalties which comprise 10% dividends paid to the public coffers by over a dozen mining firms in the the country.
The legal advisors to the eyebrow-raising deal included a law firm owned by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko-Africa Legal Services, Ace Ankomah’s Bentsi-Enchil, Letsa & Ankomah. And a British law firm called ‘White & Case LLP.
There are suspicions that Databank Financial Services Limited may be part of the beneficiaries of the scheme. Whatsup News is still investigating this allegation.
One thing is however certain: investigations by Whatsup News reveals that Asaase/Agyapa Royalties has a relationship with a company called the Pan African Capital Group which incidentally has a link to Databank Financial Services.
Databank Group is a company founded and owned by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta who is tasked to protect public funds in a conflict of interest-free responsibility.
Additional probes by Whatsup News at the Registrar-General’s Department indicates that the supposed subsidiary of Agyapa/Asaase Royalties called ARG Royalties Limited has a CEO and director called Yaw Baah.
Background checks on Yaw Baah revealed that he was a UK-based lawyer who also happens to a Senior Research Fellow at the Danquah Institute (DI), a policy think-tank founded by Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko.
Again, Mr. Baah also worked closely in the research department of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s 2016 campaign.
More checks also revealed that another director of ARG Royalties is called Felicia Ashley. She was the Vice President and Head of Human Capital and Administration at Ken Ofori-Atta’s Databank. Ms Ashley was later moved to the Finance Ministry headed by Mr. Ofori-Atta to be the Head of General Administration of the Ministry of Finance.
On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the Majority parliamentarians on the side of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) secretly pushed through contentious amendments to the MIIF Act to basically incapacitate the Ghanaian government from being able to probe the dealings of Agyapa/Asaase Royalties with the countries mining royalties, it receives.