Governance think-tank IMANI has announced that it is joining in with the ever-growing number of Civil Society Organizations which are opposed to the convoluted Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal, saying government’s hurry to list the Agyapa Special Purpose Vehicle on the London Stock Exchange is rushed and suspicious.
In an alert, IMANI said that time constraints for listing on the LSE alone makes case for the listing to be postponed until 2021 and that the tiny time window of only 4 months that the government is looking to beat is only workable if the government had secretly been listing on the LSE before it went to Parliament for approval.
If this is the case, then Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has embroiled himself in illegality.
IMANI also pointed out that that government has been decidedly not forthcoming over the deal saying the obscurantism coupled with the indecent haste will connive to shortchange Ghana in the long run to the extent that the country will end up losing up to 65% of its mineral royalties value.
“The timeline of 4 months to IPO is problematic, unless the Government has surreptitiously filed for listing. To ensure favourable pricing of the offered securities, the timeline for listing any MIIF SPV on any international exchange should be extended to at least April 2021. This should also allow additional scrutiny into the Agyapa transaction because, so far, it lacks the basic minimum of transparency and assurance of above-board dealing required of a sovereign transaction,” IMANI said.
“The degree of information-hiding has been so intense that, per the official record, it took the Ministry of Finance more than a year to share the full set of agreements with the Government’s own Attorney General following an initial request for legal review in January 2019. Unsurprisingly, the final agreement ratified by Parliament defies many pieces of advice offered by the Attorney General, including a suggestion that the Investment Agreement be limited to a fixed term of 30 years,” it said.
Under the deal, the Minerals Investment Fund supposedly uses Agyapa Minerals Royalties as a Special Purpose Vehicle, to borrow US$1billion from investors through listing on the London Stock Exchange, using government’s royalty receipts from mining companies as collateral.
The deal is however shrouded in so much secrecy that even the Minority in Parliament do not know who the Directors of the SPV or investors are even though the law has been crafted in such a way that overseas directors of Agyapa which will be incorporated in a tax haven in the UK (Jersey) cannot be removed in future. This is in spite of the fact that these overseas directors will have control over the local subsidiary of called Agyapa Royalties Ghana (ARG).
The Attorney General has written that her advice to limit the deal’s lifespan to 30 years was ignored by the people behind it, including Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
Many Civil Society Organizations have questioned the deal while former President John Mahama has made it clear that a future NDC government will not recognize the deal whose passage was boycotted by the Minority in Parliament.
According to IMANI, government’s attempts to explain away the deal has only made more mystery than sense.