Contrary to claims by some appointees of President Akufo-Addo that the Finance Ministry’s meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) over the Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal went cordially with the CSOs gravitating towards government’s position, the CSOs have said the opposite was the case.
The Ministry of Finance deliberately hid vital documents from the CSOs and danced around the pertinent questions that were posed to it by the CSOs, Whatsup News gathered.
According to the CSOs, Deputy Minister of Finance even lied and deliberately undervalued the mineral royalty inflows to the government in an attempt to bamboozle the government deal through. However, unbeknownst to the Ministry, the CSOs already had the requisite information but were only crosschecking.
“When a direct question was posed to the Deputy Minister of Finance on the amount of royalties received from gold in 2019, he said Ghana received about GHS650 million ($123 million). The truth is that Ghana received GHS 1.06 billion ($200 million) from the big companies under the Chamber of Mines alone. Government has data on the other receipts, yet it decided to under-report the numbers, “ alleged Dr. Steve Manteaw, spokesperson of the CSOs.
The CSOs which met with the Finance Ministry are 22 in all. They include the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC), Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMAC) and the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG).
Others are the CSOs Open Licensing Monitoring Group, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), WACAM, Oil Watch Ghana and Penplusbytes.
The rest are Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Publish What You Pay Ghana (PWYP), SEND Ghana, The People’s Project (TPP), Women Aspire, Centre for Social Impact Studies, Obuasi, and Friends of the Nation, Takoradi.
During the meeting, there had been claims from government circles that the CSOs had come round to government’s thinking with the boss of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, reportedly declaring that the Agyapa deal is good for Ghana. However, as it turns out the CSOs felt even more stonewalled by an obscurantist government using fencing tactics to hide their books from the CSOs.
Consequently, the CSOs said, “We are therefore reiterating our call on the government to suspend implementation of this transaction pending a national dialogue on options available to optimise Ghana’s mineral royalties.”
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta who is the lead personality pushing the deal has said government has made up its mind to go ahead with the deal.
This is in spite of the fact that the opposition National Democratic Congress has said it is notifying the London Stock Exchange on which the government wants to list Agyapa Mineral Royalties that a future NDC government will not recognize the Agyapa deal.
The CSOs are therefore wondering how the Akufo Addo administration value the royalties at $1 billion when there is no proper reconciliation of exactly how much the royalties amount to.